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About the book
  • Published: 1 November 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409045649
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416


The respected historian and travel writer, John Man, tells the remarkable story of the world's most famous traveller – Marco Polo – and the moment when East met West for the first time.

Marco Polo’s journey from Venice, through Europe and most of Asia, to the court of Kublai Khan in China is one of the most audacious in history. His account of his experiences, known simply as The Travels, uncovered an entirely new world of emperors and concubines, great buildings – ‘stately pleasure domes’ in Coleridge’s dreaming – huge armies and imperial riches. His book shaped the West’s understanding of China for hundreds of years.

John Man travelled in Marco’s footsteps to Xanadu, in search of the truth behind Marco’s stories; to separate legend from fact. Drawing on his own journey, archaeology and archival study, John Man paints a vivid picture of the man behind the myth and the true story of the great court of Kublai Khan.

  • Pub date: 1 November 2010
  • ISBN: 9781409045649
  • Imprint: Transworld Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

About the Author

John Man

John Man is a historian and travel writer with a special interest in Mongolia. After reading German and French at Oxford he did two postgraduate courses, one in the history of science at Oxford, the other in Mongolian at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

John has written acclaimed and highly successful biographies of Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun and Kublai Khan as well as Alpha Beta, on the history of the alphabet, and The Gutenberg Revolution, on the invention of printing.

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Praise for Xanadu

“An in-the-footsteps-of-Marco-Polo journey through Europe to China which really makes you feel you are wearing Polo's threadbare, sweat-stained slippers as you go”

The Scotsman

“John Man's engaging and diverting study of the historical Xanadu renders the truths as beguiling as the mythology . . . with a combination of travel writing, historical analysis and anecdote, Man uses Xanadu almost as a keyhole through which to describe larger events”

Scotland on Sunday

“Both an erudite and lively piece of travel writing, and an excellent read”

Sunday Telegraph

“An engaging piece of storytelling and a very companionable journey of exploration”


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