Top critical review
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Interesting topic, however poorly written/edited
on June 16, 2015
Simpfendorfer's book on the "New Silk Road" covers a highly interesting and still quite relevant political topic, considering that China announced another investment in this project to revitalize one of the oldest and most popular trading routes in Eurasian history. The 2nd edition was made in 2011 and obviously published before the "Arab Spring". Therefore, all the author's speculations on Syria's future development and her possible economic boom have become irrelevant at the moment.
Even though the author's thoughts are interesting, some historical facts have been omitted. Readers would need to know a bit more about this old tradiing route and the cultural implications it had over centuries. Simpfendorfer includes his economic and financial expertise, which he often takes for granted though. "The New Silk Road" is certainly no literary classic, as the author's writing style would match with a college graduate, at most. His sentences are short, simple and often begin with the same words. The impression comes up that the book has not been edited or proofread at all - quite amazing that "The New Yorker" sings Simpfendorfer's praises...Take, for example, just this paragraph and COUNT how often Simpfendorfer uses the word "report": "For the moment, October Weekly is mainly buying Xinhua's reporting of Chinese domestic affairs, but it may one day buy its reporting of foreign affairs. Meanwhile, Xinhuais also reporting on China's activities in the Arab world. Its reports now serve as a major source of information on China's activities in the Arab world, of course, after the message has first been appropriately spun." And so it goes on....
Do not expect too many facts as a reader. The author undermines his arguments with many personal anecdotes and experiences while he does not forget to mention totally redundant things, like when he was staying in Dubai (as if it had any meaning for the argument itself.)
The idea of a new silk road certainly is very intriguing, but I would not recommend the book to readers with a deeper interest in that matter.