Insight Guides Silk Road (Travel Guide)


Graham Squires
published on 14 November 2022
Insight Guides Silk Road (Travel Guide with Free eBook)
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Title: Insight Guides Silk Road (Travel Guide with Free eBook)
Author: Insight Guides
Audience: General Public
Difficulty: Medium
Publisher: Insight Guides
Published: 2017
Pages: 464

This is a travel guide to the regions along the Silk Road. The guide also includes lots of interesting historical information about the areas.

Over the last 20 years, there has been quite a boom in the publication of books about the Silk Road. The Silk Road would more accurately be referred to as the plural "Silk Roads," since it was a network of roads rather than a single highway. While many of these books - academic and trade alike - are excellent, it can sometimes be difficult to get a good grasp of the geography of Central Asia while reading them. Central Asia is still a relatively overlooked part of the world in research or popular literature. Insight Guides to the Silk Road is a travel guide rather than a history book, but it provides a detailed explanation of the geography of the regions along the Silk Roads from the perspective of someone walking through these terrains. As such, the book functions best as a companion volume to a more historically oriented title on the Silk Roads.

One of the first things readers will notice about the book is the photography.

Most travel guides focus on a single country or region. This guide only partially discusses specific locations because the Silk Roads ran through the countries of Central Asia, linking China in the east with the Mediterranean Sea in the west. This guide also has a strong thematic structure. In describing various peoples and places, it locates them in terms of their relationship to the Silk Roads. As a travel guide produced by a company, it does not have a designated author but it appears to be very well-researched.

One of the first things readers will notice about this book is the photography. This guide is filled with stunning visual images. There are photographs of landscapes or communities on almost every page. The text itself is divided into seven sections. In the Introduction, the editors describe the ancient trade routes, give their opinion on the best places to visit, and provide an overview of the journey itself. Section Two - which is 43 pages long and includes great details - is on the history of the Silk Roads. This section is divided into the following topics: decisive dates, the first steps, the opening of the road, the middlemen, glory and decline, the Mongol era and the rise of Europe, and the rediscovering of the road. The next section - "Features" - focuses on four specific themes: the story of silk, life on the road, the spread of ideas and people, and the environment. Section Four contains 15 sections that explore topics such as Persian carpets and the Syrian conflict in greater depth. Section Five, the core of the book and taking up 234 pages, explains in detail the places along the Silk Roads: China (Shaanxi, Gansu, Xinjiang), Central Asia (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan), and Western Asia (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey). In these sub-sections, the book includes information about the historical sites that tourists are likely to visit. The final section is on travel tips for each of the different regions.

The most recent hardcopy edition of this book was published in 2017, but this edition is currently out of print and is only available as an ebook. A fourth hardcopy edition is planned for 2024. In some ways, the ebook is better than the hard copy because readers can get a better view of the photographs and maps. It is also available on the Insight Guides phone app, which is called Walking Eye. This book is highly enjoyable and informative regarding geography, history, and culture, even if its readers have no plans to walk the Silk Roads.

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About the Reviewer

Graham Squires
Graham Squires is a senior lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Newcastle in Australia.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Squires, G. (2022, November 14). Insight Guides Silk Road (Travel Guide). World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Squires, Graham. "Insight Guides Silk Road (Travel Guide)." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified November 14, 2022.

MLA Style

Squires, Graham. "Insight Guides Silk Road (Travel Guide)." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 14 Nov 2022. Web. 24 Jun 2024.