5 Books Like The Silk Roads
For two thousand years, the Silk Road has dominated the course of human civilization. Emperors, armies, merchants, scholars, monks and slaves of different races, faiths and cultures have traveled along this road. Therefore it creates and transmitts wealth, wisdom, religion, art, war, disease and disaster. This is an entirely new history of the world. From Alexander’s conquest to the 9/11 attacks are all linked together in order to bring us a smooth epic masterpiece.
In politics, we see that conflict is opportunity, opportunity and challenge coexist. The fall of one country represents the rise of another. Leaders, conquerors in war, continue to learn, constantly summarize their experience. They get rid of constraints, open their minds, so that the political system is better and more mature. And national politics in the historical development of mutual learning, common progress. Eventually the world was brought to civilization.
Further Culturally, we have seen religions move from incompatibility to mutual cooperation to peaceful coexistence. People took the initiative to accept new ideas and practices. They were able to “take the best and discard the worst” of new cultures. And they become more harmonious in the midst of conflict and spread religious beliefs in the midst of constant confrontation.
Economically, it tells a story from land transport of foreign goods sold at higher profits to gain economic strength, to sea transport and commodities. Also a story from the sale of goods to the slave trade.
5 Books Like The Silk Roads
The opening of the Silk Road strongly promoted the economic and cultural exchanges between the East and the West. First, the Silk Road caravans from the West to rare animals, plants, spices, jewelry ect. Then from China to ship silk, tea, porcelain and other goods. These goods enrich the daily lives of people in all countries. Secondly, the Central Plains cast iron smelting, well-drilling and other technologies into the West. This promoted not only the improvement of social production levels in the West, but also economic development. China’s four inventions, silk weaving technology, lacquer ware technology, etc. also spread to the world through the Silk Road, promoting the process of world civilization. From ancient times to the present, the Silk Road has been an important trade route. Also if you want to learn more about books related to trade between East and West, please read on.
1. For All the Tea in China
In 1848, the East India Company, which had great influence in the Far East, decided to hire Robert Fortune, a job hunter who had hunted rare plants in China. They hired him to go to China again specifically to steal tea plants and tea production technology. Fortune then put on Chinese clothes, put up Chinese braids, and disguised himself as a Chinese. He tried not to catch attention from the Chinese, especially the officials. By the way he had to keep quiet as much as possible. He let the Chinese servants to handle many external matters .
So Fortune first went to Zhejiang, Anhui and other places to steal green tea plants. But these plants were shipped to India and eventually almost none of them came to life. This was not only due to the lack of technical personnel among the British who really understood tea cultivation, but also because the East India Company was internally involved in shirking responsibilities. Fortune ‘s first stolen tea collection all went down the drain. In May 1949, Fortune once again penetrated into the Chinese mainland. He went to Wuyi Mountain in Fujian Province to explore black tea and recruit tea makers. Finally, in the early 1850s, the British succeeded in transplanting the tea stolen from China to Darjeeling, India. Darjeeling black tea became synonymous with fine black tea. Britain has since got rid of its dependence on Chinese tea. While China has lost its monopoly on the world tea market.
The ensuing impact was that tea got a huge promotion, accelerating the process of industrialization in England. First, the demand for tea brought about technological changes in shipping, transportation technology has made great progress. Second, tea consumption led to the development of the British native porcelain industry. European porcelain manufacturing technology also like tea later, gradually replaced the previous Chinese monopoly, more accelerated the fall of China’s native porcelain manufacturing. Again, the popularity of tea to all levels of society, to enhance the health of the British. British people drank more hot water because of tea, to prevent the spread of disease. Meanwhile, the British used to add milk, sugar and other ingredients to tea drinking, providing more energy sources to the lower and middle class people. Total value, tea was a booster of the industrial revolution.
2. The White Road: Journey into an Obsession
In 1291, Marco Polo brought the first Chinese porcelain back to Venice. It set off a craze for porcelain throughout Europe. Four hundred years, no one in the West to crack the firing recipe for porcelain. Porcelain is called “white gold”, has become the secret of China. And a porcelain road has gradually formed between the East and West.
De Waal carefully searched through literary and historical texts and archival materials, important space and time coordinates on the road of white porcelain, marked by the intricate and fascinating story of historical drama. Princes and nobles, missionaries, alchemists, philosophers, merchants and adventurers are all present. They came to tell a scene buried in the clouds of history of porcelain story. The author’s concern for human nature and meditation throughout. On the ambition of human beings in a fast-decaying world in pursuit of something eternally beautiful, and at great cost to it.
“Porcelain is China, and porcelain is the way to China.” Porcelain, which is commonplace today, was historically a powerful medium for connecting the worlds of East and West. Through the magnificent history of the development and evolution of porcelain over the centuries since its introduction to Europe from China, this book tells the unique and epic story of the modern exchange of civilizations between East and West.
De Waal traveled for 18 months through Europe and Asia, visiting several of the world’s porcelain capitals. He used a wealth of historical material to present a vast and glorious path of white porcelain. The stories of adventure, strife, invention, trade and wealth are thrilling. They have long influenced the relationship between East and West. With a powerful interpretation of the great tradition of porcelain and its significance to the modern world, this book won the Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2015.
3. In Xanadu
“Xanadu” is the name given to the Yuan capital in Western culture. The famous English “lakeside” poet Coleridge dreamed one summer of Kublai’s palace as described by Marco Polo. He wrote the lyrical poem “Kublai Khan” after awakening from his dream. This makes “Xanadu” a famous Western literary image symbolizing splendor and abundance. In the 1980s, William Dalrymple spent his summer vacation on a pilgrimage to Xanadu in the footsteps of Marco Polo, out of a childhood longing for Xanadu and adventure. This book is about this This book is about the trip.
The fruit of this adventure is the book you have before you, In Xanadu. The book was first published in 1989, to a good reception. In the early 1980s people became disillusioned with fiction, and travelogues seemed to be a serious alternative to novels. The author could still use fictional techniques to build characters, select and adapt experiences to create a series of scenes and set-pieces, and organize characters’ actions to make the narrative concrete and move the plot forward. But this time the author’s content was real. In addition, unlike most works of fictional literature, travelogues sell well.
This cultural journey begins with the author’s quest for Marco Polo’s so-called “sacred oil for the long light” at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and ends with him pouring the oil into the earth at the site of Kublai’s summer palace in Zhenglan Banner, Xilin Gol league. This trip spans the summer and autumn seasons. Along the way, he continues to visit the places or features mentioned in the “Chronicle of Marco Polo”. He experienced one culture shock and conflict after another and overcame the obstacles that prevent him from reaching his goal. The book thus contains both historical reminiscences, as well as reflections and flirtations on the reality along the way.
4. Fruit from the Sands
Behind the food we eat every day, there is actually a story of a deep and surprising past. From almonds and apples to tea and rice, the history of the foods we eat can be traced along the Silk Road, from prehistoric Central Asia to its gradual arrival on the tables of Europeans and Americans. The beginning of organized trade along dates back to at least the second century B.C. in China’s Han Dynasty. This ancient trade route was used by people 5000 years ago to exchange goods, ideas, cultural practices and contacts.
Through an examination of archaeological, botanical, and historical documents, we find that these desert fruits tell a story about the origins of agriculture and how it spread across Central Asia to Europe and East Asia. Through the examination of well-preserved plant remains at archaeological sites, Robert N. Spengler III identifies where those grains we know best came from and establishes their routes of introduction. This book tells the vivid story of how the foods we eat have shaped the course of human history and changed global consumption.
Spengler may not have wanted to write a book that was too vivid. For what he has done, stylistically speaking, is to write a food history of the highest quality. As a niche branch of historical research, food history is alive and well. This book is a sumptuous interpretation of that vitality – a multidimensional reading of food history from the paradigms of economic and social history, cultural history, and global history. Food is not simply the color and flavor behind it. It is the oldest of human commodities. Food is the most direct carrier of human culture, just as the Islamic power became the ruler of Central Asia in the 10th century A.D. And its food structure and customs also underwent fundamental changes.
As for developing the narrative subject around the Silk Road, it is a natural choice for the global history paradigm. The evolution of food between regions is the result of a globalized exchange of water. As people adapt to a foreign food, they are also becoming familiar with the unfamiliar and distant places behind it.
5. The Age of Trade
The deck of a sailing ship sailing the Manila route is a special place to see the development of world history in action. The Spaniards transported silk, porcelain and other goods from the Ming Dynasty from Manila in the Philippines to the American colony of Mexico. They sold Chinese goods on site and returned to Manila loaded with silver plundered from Potosí, the silver capital of Spain, in order to buy Chinese goods again. The other part of the merchant ships brought Chinese goods and cash crops from the Americas to the Spanish mainland. They purchased all kinds of materials needed for the American colonies and returned to the Americas. The curtain of the globalized economy was slowly drawn back in the 16th century, and Spain’s dominant position in the world economy would be lost in the roar of the industrial revolution of the 18th century.
The book takes the Philippines as a dynamic and decisive sample of Anthony Reid’s classic work, The Age of Trade in Southeast Asia: 1450-1680, which examines Southeast Asia as a whole region. The author describes the trade in spices, tea, and cloves, as well as the spread of religion from outside the region that came with the trade. He describes the Ming and Qing governments’ dealings with the Philippines. The flow of silver capital that accompanied this trade would become an important symbol of the beginning of modern history.
These narratives testify to the important role played by international trade in the Philippines at the beginning of globalization in the “long 16th century”. The book’s weaknesses: too much narrative, no detailed data, charts, etc., are presented and compared. As a trade history, an annalistic study is needed, and data is more convincing. Pros: The craft of sailing ships and the role they played in transportation are small but interesting details for a study of maritime history. Overall, a friendly popular read.
Enjoyed this 5 books like The Silk Roads review? Then be sure to check out our other book reviews on BooksNavigation.