Land Beyond the River: The Untold Story of Central Asia

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Macmillan, Oct 24, 2003 - History - 290 pages
Along the banks of the river once called Oxus lie the heartlands of Central Asia: Uzbekistan and Tajikstan. Catapulted into the news by events in Afghanistan, just across the water, these strategically important, intriguing and beautiful countries remain almost completely unknown to the outside world.

In this book, Monica Whitlock goes far beyond the headlines. Using eyewitness accounts, unpublished letters and firsthand reporting, she enters into the lives of the Central Asians and reveals a dramatic and moving human story unfolding over three generations.

There is Muhammadjan, called 'Hindustani', a diligent seminary student in the holy city of Bukhara until the 1917 revolution tore up the old order. Exiled to Siberia as a shepherd and then conscripted into the Red Army, he survived to become the inspiration for a new generation of clerics. Henrika was one of tens of thousands of Poles who walked and rode through Central Asia on their way to a new life in Iran, where she lives to this day. Then there were the proud Pioneer children who grew up in the certainty that the Soviet Union would last forever, only to find themselves in a new world that they had never imagined. In Central Asia, the extraordinary is commonplace and there is not a family without a remarkable story to tell.

Land Beyond the River is both a chronicle of a century and a clear-eyed, authoritative view of contemporary events.

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User Review  - starbox - LibraryThing

In terms of an in-depth and well-researched work on the highly complex politics of Central Asia, I have to give this a *5. Being a rather lowbrow, non-politically astute person (albeit one with a ... Read full review

LAND BEYOND THE RIVER: The Untold Story of Central Asia

User Review  - Kirkus

A welcome survey of a region that remains little known, even if it now often figures in the daily news.First came news that the Aral Sea was drying up, then that great oil reserves beckoned east of ... Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Monica Whitlock has worked for the BBC World Service since 1991. She first went to Afghanistan in 1992 and was the BBC Central Asia correspondent from 1995 to 1998, with offices in Tashkent, Dushanbe and Almaty. Since then she has reported from Iran and Syria and returned to Central Asia several times, reporting from Dushanbe and Tashkent in the immediateaftermath of the attacks on the United States in September 2001. She now lives in London.

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