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Claudius Bombarnac: The Adventures Of A Special Correspondent (2008)

Claudius Bombarnac: The Adventures of a Special Correspondent (2008)

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3.35 of 5 Votes: 1
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1604502282 (ISBN13: 9781604502282)
tark classic fiction

About book Claudius Bombarnac: The Adventures Of A Special Correspondent (2008)

I enjoyed this book, but I don't think I would have if I hadn't traveled in (and been a bit obsessed with) Central Asia. The plot was not as interesting to me as the detailed descriptions of the various cities and towns that Claudius Bombarnac visits during his trip between Baku (modern Azerbaijan) and Peking (Beijing). I found it fascinating to read a description of what places I have visited where like in the late 19th century, as well as his impressions of various aspects of Central Asian culture. Although this is a work of fiction, I learned a lot about Czarist Russian administration of "Turkistan" just through some of the details that ran in the background of the plot. It's actually hard to find sources that deal with that period between the Russian conquest of the region, and the Soviet period. After reading this book, I have little doubt that Jules Verne must have visited the region, He simply could not have known some of the details with regard to the food and Turkic languages unless he had some exposure to it.There were some racist bits in the book, Bombarnac's description of the character of the "Kirghiz", which in 19th century parlance would cover what is now considered to be two ethnic groups, the Kyrgyz and the Kazakhs, I found to be both racist and interesting. The entire book has a very colonialist bent to it, cheering on the Russian efforts to civilize indigenous Central Asian cultures, and the book's clear emphasis on the European characters (who have clear names and personalities, not to mention purer motives) over the locals. I think that in itself was typical of the attitudes of the period.

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