On the Other Side: A Journey to Soviet Central Asia

Geoffrey Moorhouse, Author Henry Holt & Company $21.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8050-1229-3
In this superb travel narrative, British author Moorhouse ( Calcutta ) recounts his seven-week, National Geographic Society-sponsored trek in 1983 across the U.S.S.R.'s steppes, deserts and mountains, a vast expanse in which ancient and modern, Eastern and Western cultures incongruously mingle even in remote villages--with chaste folk dances and disco performed side by side. A command of history and an indefatigable curiosity animate the author's elegant, evocative prose, rich but never pedantically dense with detail. Engrossing as well are chapters on Genghis Khan, a visit to a greenhouse collective located in a women's prison, and tours of the fabled cities of Bukhara and Samarkand. Moorhouse, whose trip was made easier by glasnost , argues that Gorbachev's obstacles to reform are due less to ethnic and local independence movements than to the people's ``stupefying inertia,'' engendered by 70 years of communism. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-8050-2108-0
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