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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Book: A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road and the Rise of Modern China

October 19, 2010
October 2010

Two epic journeys along the Silk Road -- past and
present -- offer a riveting and cautionary tale
about the breathtaking rise of modern China.

On July 6, 1906, Baron Gustaf Mannerheim -- who
decades later became the President of Finland --
boarded the midnight train from St. Petersburg,
charged by Tsar Nicholas II to secretly collect
intelligence on the Qing Dynasty’s sweeping
reforms that were radically transforming China.
The last Tsarist agent in the so-called Great
Game, Mannerheim chronicled almost every facet of
China’s modernization, from reform of education,
foreign investment and industry to the military,
Muslim borderlands and Tibet’s struggle for independence.

On July 6, 2006, writer Eric Enno Tamm boarded
that same train, intent on following in
Mannerheim’s footsteps. Initially banned from
China, Tamm devises a cover and retraces
Mannerheim’s route across the Silk Road,
discovering both eerie similarities and seismic
differences between the Middle Kingdoms of today
and a century ago. Trekking overland 17,000
kilometres to Beijing, he runs a gauntlet of
political and geographic extremes including some
of the world’s hottest deserts and cruellest dictatorships.

Along the way, Tamm offers piercing insights into
China’s past that raise troubling questions about
its future. Can the Communist Party truly open
China to the outside world yet keep Western ideas
such as democracy and freedom at bay, just as
Qing officials mistakenly believed a century ago?
What can reform during the late Qing Dynasty
teach us about the spectacular transformation of
China today? “Study the past if you would divine
the future," wrote Confucius. Tamm’s epic quest
turns out to be a cautionary tale.

"Tamm has written a grand sweep of a narrative.
It combines a long and arduous physical journey"
Full of wild characters, harsh geography, and
historical surprise, Tamm’s journey reveals him
to be at once an intrepid adventurer, fine
writer, and discerning historian. Altogether a
wonderful book.” – Wade Davis, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence

Horse that Leaps Through Clouds, The: A Tale of
Espionage, the Silk Road and the Rise of Modern China [Hardcover]
Eric Enno Tamm
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre; First Edition edition (Sep 4 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 155365269X
ISBN-13: 978-1553652694
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