The Desert Road to Turkestan

Front Cover
Kodansha International, 1995 - Travel - 387 pages
4 Reviews
In inner Mongolia in 1927, when travel by rail had all but eclipsed the traditional camel caravan, Owen Lattimore embarked on the journey that would establish him as a legendary adventurer and leader among Asian scholars. THE DESERT ROAD TO TURKESTAN is Lattimore's elegant and spirited account of his harrowing expedition across the famous "Winding Road."

Setting off to rejoin his wife for their honeymoon in Chinese Turkestan, Lattimore was forced to contend with marauding troops, a lack of maps, scheming travel companions, and blinding blizzard. Luckily he had with him not only his father's retainer, Moses, but a team of camel pullers and Chinese traders he had assembled to teach him the ropes about their mysterious and now extinct way of life.

Lattimore's gifts as a linguist and his remarkable powers of observation lend his chronicle an immediacy and force that has lost now of its impact in the decades since its original publication.

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Review: The Desert Road to Turkestan

User Review  - Timothy Riley - Goodreads

Lattimore traveled from Peking to western China-Turkestan by camel. He was one of the first foreigners to do such a trip. His descriptions of the land and people are great first hand accounts. He ... Read full review

Review: The Desert Road to Turkestan

User Review  - Bryn Hammond - Goodreads

Owen Lattimore - always. It's camel-caravan travel in the desert. For my own purposes I wanted to meet the inhabitants, Mongols, but didn't much - only the caravaneers. Great description and he lives down and dirty. Read full review

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About the author (1995)


OWEN LATTIMORE was one of the foremost China scholars of this century. In 1950 Senator Joseph McCarthy labeled him "one of the top Communist agents in the country." After years of Senate hearings and appeals, he was exonerated and left the United States to become Professor of Mongolian Studies at the University of Leeds. He died in 1989.

DAVID LATTIMORE is Professor of Chinese Studies at Brown University.

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