The Silk Route: 7,000 Miles of History

John Major, Author, Stephen Fieser, Illustrator HarperCollins Publishers $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-022924-5
This well-matched pair explores an unusual picture-book topic: the Silk Route, which ran from the Chinese city of Chang'an to the European capital of Byzantium during the Tang Dynasty (618-906). Major (The Land and People of China) guides readers through a stop-by-stop excursion, devoting each spread to a different city along the way and explaining its importance to the caravans' progress. He surveys the different cultures traversed, adding drama in the form of such obstacles as bandits and the arid Taklamakan desert (``Its name means `if you go in, you won't come out'""). Brief discussions of each city's religion, industry and daily life supply historical context while explaining the Route's social and economic importance. With their impressive variety of subjects and perspectives, Fieser's (The Christmas Sky) illustrations convey the scope and sweep of this famous passage. From a river rushing through Afghanistan's Pamir mountains to a sprawling overview of Baghdad, his pictures vivify Major's meticulous descriptions. Children's BOMC alternate. Ages 8-12. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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