John Hare

Swallowed by the Russian Bear

In the 13th century, having overrun and terrorised Europe as far as Budapest, and in the process possibly bringing with them the flea which caused the Black Death, the heirs to Genghis Khan and the Golden Horde had also conquered territory to the east as far as the Korean peninsular. The assiduous Swiss scholar and

The lure of the desert

The great deserts of the world hold a compelling attraction for a rare breed of men who are ‘unwise and curiously planned’. Once under the spell of that seemingly infinite arena of sand and stone, many are helplessly hooked. It is an arena where the sun burns down relentlessly during the day, to be replaced

In the steppes of the Golden Horde

When I first visited the complex of Buddhist cave grottoes, dating from the fifth to the 14th century, at Bezekilk in Xinjiang province, China, I was struck by the destruction wreaked on them by Muslims whose religion proscribes figurative images of human beings. Eyes had been gouged out and figures lacerated with knives. When and

In the steppes of the ancients: travels on the Silk Road

It is difficult to fault this remarkable volume. The publishers have created a book of quality with stunning illustrations and lucid maps. It will, I believe, become a standard reference for all who study the complex history of Central Asia and the Silk Road. This is the second volume in Christoph Baumer’s projected four-book series