Did Marco Polo reach China? This richly illustrated companion volume to the public television film chronicles the remarkable two-year expedition of explorers Denis Belliveau and Francis O'Donnell as they...Read more
Did Marco Polo reach China? This richly illustrated companion volume to the public television film chronicles the remarkable two-year expedition of explorers Denis Belliveau and Francis O'Donnell as they sought the answer to this controversial 700-year-old question. With Polo's book, The Travels of Marco Polo, as their guide, they journeyed over 25,000 miles becoming the first to retrace his entire path by land and sea without resorting to helicopters or airplanes. Surviving deadly skirmishes and capture in Afghanistan, they were the first Westerners in a generation to cross its ancient forgotten passageway to China, the Wakhan Corridor. Their camel caravan on the southern Silk Road encountered the deadly singing sands of the Taklamakan and Gobi deserts. In Sumatra, where Polo was stranded waiting for trade winds, they lived with the Mentawai tribes, whose culture has remained unchanged since the Bronze Age. They became among the first Americans granted visas to enter Iran, where Polo fulfilled an important mission for Kublai Khan.
Accompanied by 200 stunning full-color photographs, the text provides a fascinating account of the lands and peoples the two hardy adventurers encountered during their perilous journey. The authors' experiences are remarkably similar to descriptions from Polo's account of his own travels and life. Laden with adventure, humor, diplomacy, history, and art, this book is compelling proof that travel is the enemy of bigotry-a truth that resonates from Marco Polo's time to our own.
Alongside Belliveau and O'Donnell's enthusiastic narrative are marvelous full-color photos that bring the travelogue to vivid life. Publishers Weekly The stunning photographs in this elegant book...Read more
Alongside Belliveau and O'Donnell's enthusiastic narrative are marvelous full-color photos that bring the travelogue to vivid life. Publishers Weekly The stunning photographs in this elegant book should please even the most casual reader, while the authors' unpretentious observations will satisfy those who want to know more about a still alien world. A travel/adventure book rather than a study of Marco Polo the man or a history of his travels, this volume deserves many readers. Warmly recommended. Library Journal [A] lush, stimulating, and often thrilling chronicle... The text is well written and highly informative, and it conveys a sense of wonder and excitement, enhanced by hundreds of excellent photographs that reveal the past and present diversity and richness of the cultures... This excellent work and companion to the public-television film is a valuable introduction to the life and times of one of the world's great adventurers. Booklist Denis Belliveau and Francis O'Donnell followed Marco Polo's route through Afghanistan and twenty other countries, traveling 33,000 miles over two years, in jeeps, trains, and rickshaws, on horse and camel. They are certainly the first to retrace Polo's steps entirely by land and sea, all this without resorting to helicopters or airplanes. Smithsonian Magazine We are given stunning proof of Marco Polo's essential veracity, for the geographic realities and enduring ethnographic facts overwhelm any doubt... [The authors] reflect poignantly on the timeless nature of the many Asian cultures [Marco Polo] encountered, so many threatened by endless conflict... When what you experience exceeds what you can imagine, the physical and spiritual costs can be very high. Is it worth it? Get this book, go along for the wild ride, and see for yourself. Bookpage If you missed the PBS special, you can still join the authors on their two-year, 25,000-mile journey that retraced the route of young Polo, his father and his uncle. The text is illuminating, the photos are revealing. Sacramento Bee An extraordinary travel book... This is a book well worth reading, filled as it is with adventurous stories and wonderful photographs taken by Belliveau... The book is a touching record of the beauty and charity of the human spirit, a charity undeterred by want, hunger, war, and grief. Foreword Reviews Stunningly evocative photography... Chapters are framed with compelling and/or illuminating adventures along the way... Historical/literary referencing is braided with camera-eye accounts of the Americans crossing borders illegally, getting caught in a firefight between warlords, speaking carefully with tribal chieftains, and brawling with drunken Russian soldiers in the dining room of the Hotel Alootoo in Bishtek, Kyrgyzstan. All in all, a blend of fun, learning and thrills. Macon Telegraph Belliveau and O'Donnell undertook a mad quest to trace the route of the 13th-century Italian explorer step by step... Belliveau's incredible photographs ... are worth lingering over and revisiting. The text is ... fascinating when the travelers describe the people they meet along the road. Flagpole Magazine An extraordinary initiative and travel experience. They set out to demonstrate that Marco Polo actually spent twenty-five years in Asia and reported first-hand about all the wonders he had seen, and I think that after Francis' and Denis' experience few people could still have doubts in this regard. -- Stefano Carboni, Metropolitan Museum of Art It was the best-documented journey of its time, inspiring the imaginations and ambitions of countless adventurers, including Christopher Columbus. Now we, too, can follow in the footsteps of Marco Polo, with guides as vividly exciting and engaging as Marco himself. With both their film and this book Denis and Francis have recreated what Joseph Campbell would have applauded as 'The Hero's Journey.' Come take it yourself-and you'll never turn back. -- Bill Moyers If anyone ever wanted to go back in time and travel with Marco Polo, this book is the magic portal. Denis Belliveau and Francis O'Donnell are not just fearless travelers, they're highly entertaining guides across the bridge between East and West that Marco Polo first built. Many historians have made a strong case for Polo's accounts but none have actually retraced his exact path, the entire dangerous way and back, to prove that he was there. Fasten your seatbelts-this book is an epic and wild ride. -- John Fusco, creator of the original Netflix series "Marco Polo" In the Footsteps of Marco Polo is an armchair explorer's dream, brimming with stories of exploration and heroic figures. Remarkable adventurers themselves, Francis O'Donnell and Denis Belliveau are uniquely suited to breathe life into one of the greatest expeditions of all time. -- Richard C. Weise, Host of ABC's Born to Explore and former president of The Explorers Club This is a classic of travel and exploration. Two young men follow a crazy dream, braving deserts and mountains, hunger and thirst, heat and cold. Death is a close companion, success a miracle of luck and perseverance. The result is a unique pictures-and-text tribute to Marco-and an insight into the deepest, darkest, and most dangerous bits of Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The pictures are wonderful. And it's also very entertaining. -- John Man, author of Marco Polo and The Mongol Empire The vision of our club's founder, Major Robert Foran, is still very much alive in this wonderful book. In The Footsteps of Marco Polo exemplifies and defines our members and is a rich and entertaining adventure. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.' Denis and Francis have done just that. Read their book and follow their trail. -- Michael A. Salim, Foundation President, The Adventurers Club of Chicago