Although the title “La Route de la Soie, d’Alexandre le Grand à Marco Polo” (ISBN 9782268064994) by Jacqueline Dauxois sounds very promising, the book is simply disappointing.
I expected to walk in the steps of Alexander to the east, who for a greater part follows what is later called the Silk Road, to be taken over by Marco Polo who extended his voyage further east to
Not so. China
With all my respect for the author/teacher, all I discover is a very sketchy history that starts with Alexander the Great and ends with the Polo family returning to
, with just an occasional word about
silk. From Alexander’s times, she
jumps to Venice, Italy China, to Rome, to Constantinople, the Mongols, the
Vikings and the origins of ,
quoting events randomly and lingering extensively on the wars, atrocities,
destruction, murders and killings by the thousands and hundreds of thousands. Russia
Obviously, the part about Alexander interests me most but I am not rewarded. Jacqueline Dauxois lets her imagination run freely, giving details meant only to spice up the story and describing situations in a non-historic light.
The main subject, the
Silk Road itself, is hardly mentioned, its route(s) is not mentioned
(not even on a simple map), its importance is not explained and its legacy
shrouded in mystery!
Maybe I should have considered this book more as a novel, in which case liberties are allowed, but the references the author gives with names and dates lead me to believe otherwise. Maybe this is typically French with their tendency to embellish their story (avec mes sincères excuses envers mes amis français). It’s up to the reader to decide.