Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?
Ted RallISBN: 1561634549;
At a year-end publishers' party at the zenith of the roaring 1990s, the editor of a "laddie" men's magazine asked his newest staff writer to pitch him the wildest, most over-the-top idea for an adventure travel piece that he could think of. "You name it, we'll do it!," the editor promised. Remembering his childhood fascination with the Kazakh S.S.R. and its description in National Geographic as "the most remote place on earth," Ted Rall proposed a reckless headlong plunge into the belly of post-Soviet Central Asia. "I'll drive the Silk Road from Beijing to Istanbul," Rall said, "via Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey. I won't do research. I'll just show up and see what happens." Five years after having been cut loose by the imploding Soviet Union the Central Asian republics?colloquially known as the Stans?were reeling from an identity crisis precipitated by economic collapse. Citizens of a great superpower woke up to find themselves in...
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