Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Land Beyond the River

Land Beyond the River

The Untold Story of Central Asia

Monica Whitlock

Thomas Dunne Books



Along the banks of the river once called Oxus lie the heartlands of Central Asia: Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Catapulted into the news by events in Afghanistan, just across the water, these strategically important, intriguing and beautiful countries remain almost completely unknown to the outside world.

In this book, Monica Whitlock goes far beyond the headlines. Using eyewitness accounts, unpublished letters and firsthand reporting, she enters into the lives of the Central Asians and reveals a dramatic and moving human story unfolding over three generations.

There is Muhammadjan, called 'Hindustani', a diligent seminary student in the holy city of Bukhara until the 1917 revolution tore up the old order. Exiled to Siberia as a shepherd and then conscripted into the Red Army, he survived to become the inspiration for a new generation of clerics. Henrika was one of tens of thousands of Poles who walked and rode through Central Asia on their way to a new life in Iran, where she lives to this day. Then there were the proud Pioneer children who grew up in the certainty that the Soviet Union would last forever, only to find themselves in a new world that they had never imagined. In Central Asia, the extraordinary is commonplace and there is not a family without a remarkable story to tell.

Land Beyond the River is both a chronicle of a century and a clear-eyed, authoritative view of contemporary events.


Praise for Land Beyond the River

“A welcome survey... [a] thorough overview...full of luminous facts and interpretations.... A sturdy, more complete companion to other recent looks at the area.” —Kirkus Reviews (Sept 1, 2003)

“A thoughtful account of 20th-century Uzbekistan and Tajikistan through the eyes and voices of three generations of its people...eloquent, often harrowing testimonies.” —The Sunday Telegraph (London)

“A work rich in both historical insight and emotional depth, [Land Beyond the River] offers an extraordinarily three-dimensional portrait of a region and its people.” —The Scotsman (UK)

“Whitlock offers, as does the [BBC World] Service on the airwaves, somewhere in which countries can understand themselves through the devotion of outsiders to local detail. That voice of the true correspondent is most often present in asides, and Whitlock's, like her book, are exceptional.” —Times Literary Supplement (London)

“Well informed and highly illuminating.” —The Guardian (London)

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Monica Whitlock

Monica Whitlock has worked for the BBC World Service since 1991 and is the author of Beyond the Oxus and Land Beyond the River. She first went to Afghanistan in 1992 and was the BBC Central Asia correspondent from 1995 to 1998, with offices in Tashkent, Dushanbe and Almaty. Since then she has reported from Iran and Syria and returned to Central Asia several times, reporting from Dushanbe and Tashkent in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the United States in September 2001. She now lives in London.

Monica Whitlock

Monica Whitlock

From the Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books

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