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The Tea Horse Road: China's Ancient Trade Road to Tibet Hardcover – March 16, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Freeman, whose previous publications with 'River Books' include 'Ancient Angkor' and 'Palaces of the Gods', has specialised in Asia for most of his career, and has published more than 100 books.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 340 pages
  • Publisher: River Books Press Dist A C; First Edition edition (March 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9749863933
  • ISBN-13: 978-9749863930
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 1.5 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,522,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Freeman, professional photographer and author, with more than 100 book titles to his credit, was born in England in 1945, took a Masters in geography at Brasenose College, Oxford University, and then worked in advertising in London for six years. He made the break from there in 1971 to travel up the Amazon with two secondhand cameras, and when Time-Life used many of the pictures extensively in the Amazon volume of their World's Wild Places series, including the cover, they encouraged him to begin a full-time photographic career.

Since then, working for editorial clients that include all the world's major magazines, and notably the Smithsonian Magazine (with which he has had a 30-year association, shooting more than 40 stories), Freeman's reputation has resulted in more than 100 books published. Of these, he is author as well as photographer, and they include more than 40 books on the practice of photography - for this photographic educational work he was awarded the Prix Louis Philippe Clerc by the French Ministry of Culture. He is also responsible for the distance-learning courses on photography at the UK's Open College of the Arts.

Freeman's books on photography have been translated into fifteen languages, and are available on other Amazon international sites.

They are supported for readers by a regularly updated site,

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
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See all 7 customer reviews
The pictures were informative.
If you are a lover of travel/landscape/nature photography you will love Michael's photographs which liberally enhance Selena's text.
Lynn May
I have traveled in Yunnan Province learning about tea, and I am still in awe of everything about this province.
Mary Lou Heiss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lou Heiss on September 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"The Tea Horse Road is a narrative of politics, economy, culture and health. It is about ascending empire, a desire for the exotic and a more humble quest for energy, well-being and livelihood."

So begins the tale of this book. As the title of this book suggests the topic is about an extensive network of physical pathways and small local routes that came to be collectively known as the Tea Horse Road. For centuries, this road carried tea out of the forests of Yunnan Province, China to the faraway lands of Tibet, Nepal, India and Burma.

Astonishing in its feat and staggering in its abundance of perils and danger, the importance of the Tea Horse Road was so great that a former trade route-the Southwest Silk Road (Xi'nan Sichouzhilu)-connecting China with neighboring countries (and carrying such goods as silk, jade, wool, furs, tobacco, salt, and silver from east to west and back again) was renamed the Tea Horse Road (Chama Dao) after tea became the most sought after commodity traveling along the route.

Beginning in the 7th C the Tea Horse Road transported tea up over the Himalaya by caravans of men and mules. This road served this essential duty until the mid-20th C when paved, motorized highways made the transport of tea faster and easier and rendered the perilous old routes obsolete.

This book is imposing in size (340 pages) and considerably heavy. At first glance it appears as though it might be just another pretty coffee table picture book. Indeed, wonderful black and white photographs appear throughout and offer stark contrast to vivid color images of the rugged landscape and hearty people who live in this area of China and Tibet.

But readers who sit and linger with this book will find that it contains riches.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. Leffman on February 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The romance of the old tea-horse trading trails between China and Tibet has become a hot topic recently, and this book shows why. Lush, lavish photography captures the best of the landscape, old villages and people; the text is thoroughly researched and nicely written, getting the background and atmosphere across while complementing the pics. Having spent a lot of time in southwest China, this book pretty well recaptured the feel of the region for me; the photos weren't staged and there really are places (I especially like Weishan in Yunnan) where you can find archaic horse markets and traders exactly as portrayed here. Would have liked to read more about other trade items along the roads, like salt, but you can't please everyone. Just bear in mind that this is one coffee-table book you really do need a (hefty) table for - it must weight ten kilos.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lynn May VINE VOICE on February 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Michael Freeman at his photographic best, as usual. THe writing is succinct and
informative. There is a LOT to read between the lines. Obviously, Selena Amed
and Michael would never have been allowed to do this project if they had
been as frank as you would like.

THere is no mention of the religious oppression and cultural devastation that the
Tibetans have endured since the invasion of their country by CHina's
"Liberation Army". There is brief mention of the Hydro Electric "projects" that
China is working on that will create mass flooding and displace hundreds of thousands
of people and destroy ecosystems that we can barely imagine.
There are brief hints at the devastation of "modernization" of rural areas; environmentally,
culturally and health/nutritionally.

So, if you want a frank and honest essay on this region of the East, pass this one up,
but if you want an incredible view into the terrain and a bit of the history and culture then
this is an incredible volume. And I'm mean Incredible, both literary, photographically
and HEFT wise.

Michael, Selena, We need a kindle version of this book. It is incredibly uncomfortable to
read other than sitting at a study table with it lying flat. It's 1 & 1/2 inches thick and just
under 12 x 12 inches in width and height with very good quality thick photographic, gloss
pages. It's also a serious hardback book. Each cover is 3/16 inch, cloth bound and page binding is excellent.
Beautiful for a gift/coffee table book, but not very practical to read on the couch due to the
awkward size and the heft.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roser Giner on October 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was lucky to find out about this beautiful book. So I bought it last week thru Amazon, and just five days later, the parcel with the book inside arrived home. Thank you Canton Tea Co. for your excellent delivery service.

It's a unique book to learn about The Tea Horse Road. I highly recommend it to everybody, for its contents, the photographs and to get an excellent knowledge about tea and history.
I feel happy. This is a short and urgent feedback, as I did not have time to read it yet, but just opened it and with a short look inside, you have already the feeling you have a treasure in your hands.
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