SILK ROAD TO RUIN
Why Central Asia Is The Next Middle East
Part graphic novel travelog, part tongue-in-cheek travel guide, here are the adventures of caustic cartoonist Rall in the wild and wooly central Asian countries, a powder keg sitting on tomorrow’s oil... Combines articles with comics chapters relating his experiences retracing the old legendary Silk Road starting with the sublime history of China and ending in the absurdity of the petty dictatorships of the “The ‘Stans” where Rall had the temerity -or was it blustery stupidity?- to go back, including once with a group of listeners to his radio show, on a dare. It’s exotic adventure, satire and a fun way to find out more about a part of the world that looms in importance with its immense reserves of oil...
"A rollicking, subversive and satirical portrait of the region that is part travelogue, part graphic novel. It's fresh and edgy and neatly captures the reality of travel in the region."
-Lonely Planet Guide for Central Asia
"As a ticking package, the visual and verbal delivery is irreplaceable. This is wrenching stuff. I admire the hell out of the way Rall walks the walk."
-Rich Kreiner, Comics Journal
"His awestruck descriptions of the region's natural beauty, crowded bazaars, and chaotic sporting tournaments will make adventurous readers want to see it all firsthand. The author takes a serious subject and infuses it with humor."
- School Library Journal
"Neither fearless nor stupid, Rall nonetheless casts himself into situations that turn into various combinations of unimaginably stressful, impossibly uncomfortable and mind-blindingly dangerous. All to a purpose: "Silk Road to Ruin" is a crash course on Central Asia, essential for anyone who's at all interested in what the U.S. is up to (see: oil, projection of power) in the region, and what's likely in store for us (see: blowback)." -San Diego Union Tribune
"Stuffed with information, characterized by courage, in photos, "comic novellas," and pictures, he serves up a travelogue of a region teetering on the brink of irreparable political and environmental failure." -The Boston Globe
"Offers a great read that is packed with facts, accessible dissection of thorny issues, and a narration that reads like suspense fiction." -Voya
"The bottom line with Rall's Silk Road To Ruin is that this is an inspired work written with accuracy, wit and passion about what is already becoming an extremely important corner of the planet." -Counter Punch.org
"Gritty observations, told in wonderful cartoon panels."
-San Jose Mercury News
"Funny and knowledgeable and serves as a fair (if biased) introduction to a region that we all should be paying more attention to."
-Eric Hanson, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A sincere (yet still wry) attempt to stave off another disaster. His forte is exposing the comic-tragic truth buried within political rhetoric."
"Much of "The Silk Road to Ruin" focuses on the absurdities he witnessed traveling through the region. There is a chapter on how to properly bribe guards at checkpoint; horror stories about the food; a collection of the philosophical wisdom of Turkmenbashi, the bizarre and megalomaniacal dictator of Turkmenistan, who re-named the month of September in honor of the title of a book he wrote."
-New York Daily News
6x9, 304pp., B&W trade pb, $19.99, ISBN 9781561638857