B OO K R E V I E W: T H E S I L K R O A D Jeffrey Riegel – TAASA Review December 2013


This article was originally found in the December 2013 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 22, Issue 4, Page 27).

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The Silk Road: A New History Valerie Hansen Oxford University Press, 2012 RRP US$34.95, hard cover, 304 pages In the first few pages of her account of the oasis towns that are strung together by the trading routes – popularly known as ‘The Silk Road’ – that linked the early capitals of China with Eurasian neighbours to the west, Professor Hansen lists a few of the common misconceptions she wants to correct.

She is careful to point out, for example, that the term ‘Silk Road’ is a relatively recent invention coined in 1877 by the German geographer and surveyor Baron Ferdinand von Richthofen.

There is no pre-modern counterpart for ‘Silk Road’ in the Chinese language; modern Chinese Sichou zhi lu is a translation from English...