Beyond the Oxus

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➽ [Reading] ➿ Beyond the Oxus By Monica Whitlock ➲ – Stockbag.info
  • Beyond the Oxus
  • Monica Whitlock
  • 03 June 2018
  • 9780719564024

10 thoughts on “Beyond the Oxus

  1. says:

    Monica Whitlock was the BBC s Central Asia correspondent in the 1990s, back when there was some marginal interest in places outside Europe and North America where not many people were getting killed But even then there was not that much interest in Central Asia, in those pre Frankopan days So they let a girl be the correspondent I remember the fuss and bother when they let a girl be the correspondent in big bad China Oh dear yes Feet were stamped, tantrums were had But I digress.This is a workmanlike, readable and interesting history Pre Frankopan, it points out to us just to what extent Central Asia is the heart of the world, modern as well as ancient The facts that its governments have never been democratic, though some of them are trying to be, and that large parts of the region have spent centuries under colonial yokes, mostly those of Russia and Britain, and also that most of its nations remain poor, is a continuing tragedy in terms of the cultures and history of the region.Who these days knows the name of Al Khorezm, the great mathematician in the Arabic tradition it took 700 years for Arabic mathematics, developed mostly here, to become widely used in Europe and to supplant the cumbersome Roman system It is from a Westernisation of the name of Al Khorezm that we get the word algorithm Without him there would be no Facebook Imagine that.Who knows that the city of Khujand, the second city of Tajikistan, was built on the Syr Darya, the great river crossed by Alexander the Great and his horsemen They crossed that river, looked up at the mountains, and went no further north As, it seems, everywhere Alexander went, people talk about him as if he was here only last week Iskandar is not an uncommon name here.Maybe we know the names of Tashkent, Bukhara and Samarkand, and of the great doctor Ibn al Sina, Westernised to Avicenna His emblem, that of a snake coiled round a medicine glass, is still the international emblem of pharmacy world wide.Monica Whitlock reminds us of these things, if we ever knew them Those who have read Peter Frankopan s recent Silk Roads books and you have not you should will understand that the heart of the world is not quite where perhaps they thought it was There are good reasons why it is here that China is expanding, with its Belt and Road initiative, and why there are railway projects to link the dusty capitals of the inland Stans to the ports of Pakistan and on to Europe All these postdate Monica Whitlock s book But it is in her book that you will find the history you need to take you further into a part of the world you will not regret discovering Personal and eyewitness accounts add life to this history.

  2. says:

    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 fascination in this region , I have to say it took a concerted effort to get through it all The author does her utmost to weave human interest stories into the events of the Afghan War and Tajik Civil War but the complexity the behind the scenes string pulling of Russia and the US the puppet amir the hotblooded islamic movements the lies, propaganda and double dealing left me with a kind of confused impression.Perhaps the main thing that struck me was the huge interconnectedness of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and what I always see as a separate entityAfghanistan People crossed the border constantly, as problems in one place led them to flee.As the Taleban are rising in power published 2003 , I sort of gained a confused impression as to how the terrible mess that had arisen gave them a foothold Certainly the superpowers have to shoulder their share of responsibility.Very impressive research Glad to finish though

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