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by Stuart Stevens
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Writing Research & Publishing Guides
  • Author:
    Stuart Stevens
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  • Publisher:
    Atlantic Monthly Press; 1st edition (January 13, 1988)
  • Pages:
    237 pages
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    Writing Research & Publishing Guides
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    1831 kb
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    1298 kb
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    1854 kb
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Stevens writes that China is ""ugly and inefficient, joyless and numbingly .

Stevens writes that China is ""ugly and inefficient, joyless and numbingly monotonous,"" with towns like army outposts, ""graceless and hateful. This is experiential travel writing, almost totally devoid of historical perspective or larger contemporary context. It makes for a book as joyless and monotonous as the only China Stevens seems able to perceive. In 1934, explorer Peter Fleming journeyed across Chinese Turkistan from Beijing to Kashgar on foot and horseback. The Englishman's News from Tartary became a transatlantic best-seller, and half a century later has inspired Stevens to retrace Fleming's route and write his own book.

Items related to Night Train to Turkistan: Modern Adventures Along China'. Stuart Stevens Night Train to Turkistan: Modern Adventures Along China's Ancient Silk Road (Traveler). ISBN 13: 9780871131904. Night Train to Turkistan: Modern Adventures Along China's Ancient Silk Road (Traveler). Stevens was accompanied by three American friends, including Mark Salzman, whose Iron and Silk records his own extensive travels in China.

book by Stuart Stevens. I also highly recommend the book written by one of the other travellers here, Mark Salzman's Iron and Silk.

Stuart Stevens is an American travel writer and political consultant. His book The Big Enchilada is a chronicle of Bush's 2000 campaign. Night Train to Turkistan: Modern Adventures Along China's Ancient Silk Road, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1988, ISBN 9780871131904. He was the cofounder of Washington, . based political media consultancy Stevens & Schriefer Group (with Russell Schriefer). His book The Big Enchilada is a chronicle of Bush's 2000 campaign Overseas, Stevens worked for successfully for two candidates in 2005 and 2006.

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Night train to Turkistan by Stuart Stevens, January 13, 1994, Atlantic . Night Train to Turkistan.

Night Train to Turkistan. Modern Adventures Along China's Ancient Silk Road (Traveler). Published January 13, 1994 by Atlantic Monthly Press.

Author : Stuart Stevens. Publisher : Grove Press, Atlantic Monthly Press. First serial to Esquire. R. 73 on (Shipping charges may apply) R. 25 kart. Users who liked this book, also liked. Malaria Dreams (English).

The first account of travel in Chinese Turkistan, closed to foreigners since 1949, shows a world where bureaucratic hazards often loom larger than geographical ones. First serial to Esquire.

Takes you right into the heart of China! Realistic and enthralling account of an actual journey across China. A mix of graphic details and humorous anecdotes. If you liked Steven's Malaria Dreams, you'll like this!
Like another of his books, ("Malaria Dreams"), this one is hilarious, interestingly informative, & keeps the reader riveted to the extent of staying up LATE, addicted & unable to stop reading & go to bed. Also good reading for teenagers.
A travel memoir from an abrasive guy who convinces three friends to go with him to China in the mid-1980s to re-trace the fabled Silk Road route across the high Chinese desert to India. The friends are David, a fitness nut who looks like a special forces recruit; Mark Saltzman, the acclaimed author of his own memoir of China, Iron And Silk, who is along to translate for them; and Fran, a six-foot tall athlete whose statuesque looks ensure that she is mobbed by amazed, admiring crowds wherever they go.

The Han Chinese especially, and China in general, come off in a very negative light: a backward country filled with lying, slothful officials who despise Westerners. This is no Iron And Silk though I did shoot through it briskly due to its clean-cut writing and unrelenting tension (as they struggle with the nightmarish Chinese bureaucracy that blocks their every step).

There's all sorts of tension in the memoir: building within David, who most cannot stand the pitfalls of bureaucracy; and rising between aggressive Stuart who likes to ask former members of the Red Guard how many grandmothers they slaughtered during the Cultural Revolution, and gentle Mark who seeks a way to translate while saving everyone's face. Stuart comes off as a jerk. The memoir is centered so firmly on him that the others barely come across. I think Fran or Mark would have had way more interesting viewpoints than Stuart does.

Throughout his journey, he enjoys asking probing questions of almost every faltering-English-speaking Chinese he meets: questions that put them on the spot in regards to China's troubled past and current government (neither of which is these individuals' faults). That's fine and well when he's attempting to make some smug Communist party official uncomfortable, but not when he's badgering ordinary little people who are afraid to comment or who are stuck living under bad circumstances and don't need their faces rubbed in it by some arrogant tourist. On the other hand, Stuart's travel difficulties had several laugh-out-loud funny moments, and their airline trip near the end of their journey has to be read to be believed.
Travellers come in many flavors, just like ice cream. Some try to "get in" with the natives of the places they go in order to learn more about foreign ways and perceptions. Others prefer to challenge themselves with tests of strength and endurance, paddling up jungle rivers or scaling giant peaks. There are innumerable variations. However, there is one type of traveller whose tales tire me very quickly. That is the type who likes to regale their readers (or listeners) with the total awfulness of everything, to impress (?) people with what they had to put up with, and to tell how ___________ the people were. (choose from among....greedy, stupid, venal, tricky, persistent, dirty, lying, impossible) Occasionally they meet one or two different individuals who only prove the point about the rest.

Stuart Stevens did not know anything about China. His attitude seems to hover most of the time around the level of "frat boy goes China". He managed to recruit two other babes in the woods, plus Mark Salzman, who did know Chinese, had spent a couple years in China already and had written a decent book about it. It would be interesting to hear Mark's opinion of this trip. That travelling rough in Third World countries tends to be difficult is hardly news. Of course, it all might not have been nearly as bad as Stevens says because he is so securely fastened into the "vomit, spit, and urine everywhere" school of travel writing. Stevens had the idea to contact a famous solo traveller from the 1930s, Ella Maillart, a Swiss lady, who had journeyed with a British man along the southern edge of the Takla Makan desert in Xinjiang province (once known as Chinese Turkestan). He tries to retrace their steps, but fails totally and completely. He is forced by Chinese bureaucracy to take the usual tourist route around the north of the desert, winding up in Kashgar, almost to Pakistan. This is an interesting part of the world, and when Stevens can get away from his lightweight moaning about the primitive conditions, the cold (who told him to go in December ?), the bad food, and duplicitous, intransigent Chinese, he writes a nice description. In fact, I would say that this is a well-written travel book with nice flashes of humor, but focussed mostly on the negative. The author takes a leaf from Carlos Castaneda in his "Conversations with Don Juan". He just repeatedly fails to get the message. If he had only decided early on that Chinese hate to tell others "NO" directly, but prefer to give some excuse which may sound lame to Westerners, but which indirectly tells the recipient that "what you are asking is not possible", we could have been spared all the incredulous, open-mouthed astonishment at the Chinese bureaucrats' "lying ways". What we have here is a failure to communicate. I'm sure this is all part of a non-organized trip to Turkestan, but it is not the major part, nor is it a very interesting part. If you are into the Yuck School of Travel Writing, this work is just up your alley. If you would like some sort of perspective on Xinjiang, its people, history and problems, give this book a miss.