In Journeys on the Silk Road, Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters use historical records to create an entertaining narrative that brings the past to life. Rather than making a dry history book or a simple account of what happened, the authors color the story with vivid descriptions and minor details that allow listeners to gain not just a sense of what happened, but how it happened.
Even as the authors take some creative liberty (adding specific dialogue where it is definitely not possible to have known exactly what was said), they remain as objective as possible and tell a story that conveys the facts as accurately as possible. This objectivity comes through clearly in the portions of the book in which the authors describe alternative perspectives on the historical events which occurred.
For example, listeners are given opposing viewpoints in the form of the letter from the angry Chinese scholars who denounce Aurel Stein, the novel's protagonist, as a looter and thief. Later on, the authors discuss the controversy surrounding the British explorer's legacy in light of recent scholarly concerns. This extends to a broader discussion of who owns cultural heritage materials. While the Chinese claim cultural ownership over the scrolls and other artifacts removed from the caves by Aurel Stein, many of the scrolls were written in languages other than Chinese (such as Tibetan), and languages that are now long dead. The authors bring up the problem of who can claim ownership over material representing cultures which no longer exist?
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