Matthew Leeming

At The Heart Of Asia

The Silk Road: Art and History

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Philip Wilson Publishers 391pp £45 order from our bookshop

Strolling About on the Roof of the World: The First Hundred Years of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs

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Routledge Curzon 229pp £30 order from our bookshop

INTERNATIONAL TRADE IS like sex, The Economist would say. Each generation thinks that it has discovered it for itself. In fact, the proportion of most countries’ GDP that is traded internationally has remained remarkably stable over the past hundred years. But the overall volume has gone up so much that globalisation seems like something new. The Silk Road shows us just how little human nature has changed, how adventurous and profit-minded our forebears were. It comes as a shock – rather as if one found explicit sepia photographs of one’s grandparents experimenting in depraved positions.

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