Groundbreaking geographer, broadcaster and travel writer brings together eyewitness experience, history and survival on the thread that links East and West
The Silk Road is the fabled route that cuts through one of the most extraordinary tracts of land on this planet. A vast region separating China from the Mediterranean, it rates as one of the least hospitable on Earth – a succession of hostile deserts and towering mountain ranges, a harsh terrain of howling winds, searing heat and blistering cold.
No stranger to unforgiving territory, Nick Middleton follows in the footsteps of Alexander the Great and Marco Polo overland from China to Istanbul, surviving as they did the life-sapping Gobi desert, the icy passes of high altitude Tibet, and the great Steppes of Turkmenistan, and encounters those who eke out existences there today.
Nick's great gift as an adventure writer is to weave together the personal experience of ridiculous endurance - from sleeping on steaming rocks in the middle of a sub-zero desert to eating the most dubiously-cooked local delicacies - with the bigger picture of our planet and its peoples.
Nick Middleton teaches geography at Oxford and is a fellow of St Anne's College. He is a Royal Geographical Society award-winning writer and author of six travel books including Going to Extremes and Surviving Extremes, which looked at the some of the world’s least hospitable environments and those who live there and were also filmed for major Channel Four series.
A generous handful of often hilarious and always self-deprecating anecdotes . . . hugely gripping, sometimes moving, and bursting with a myriad of extraordinary and barely believable facts, Extremes Along the Silk Road is written proof of why we all wish Nick Middleton had been our geography teacher at school. — Global magazine
An insightful and entertaining exploration of the relationships between people and nature. Middleton combines a traveller's passion with a geographer's knowledge and insight — Geographical Magazine
This affable Oxford don has evolved his own brand of "extreme travel" . . . one of the joys of reading Middleton is to see him confronting his phobias and fears . . . credit must go to both author and publisher for creating something far more worthy than the average TV tie-in. — Wanderlust
He succeeds brilliantly . . . Middleton has good stories to tell, and tells them very well. — Focus (Bristol)
'Middleton shares his passion for the terrain, the wildlife and the human interaction . . . His visit to the man-made ecological disaster of the Aral Sea and its sinister island provokes his most heartfelt arguments' — Waterstone's Books Quarterly
A magnificent insight into life in the extremes — Good Book Guide
Wonderfully descriptive and evocative — Daily Express
'According to convention, explorers are tall, rugged, firm-jawed and taciturn. Think Captain Scott. Alternatively, they are ebullient and impossible to shut up, like Ray 'how to make dinner and a canoe out of three coconuts and some monkey dung' Mears. As an Oxford Don, explorer Nick Middleton is more a vague approximation of the Indiana Jones, academic adventurer type. He is 5ft 6in tall and wears specs, which are the bane of his life because they melt in the heat, snap in the cold or get eaten by insects... He is as surprised, wrong-footed or even disgusted as you or I would be when confronted by creepy-crawlies, mud or rotting seal. His travel books are wonderfully descriptive and evocative but they retain a strong tone of the Ordinary Joe; of Everyman discovering strange and amazing things and trying to have a laugh with the locals' — Daily Express
'Nick Middleton, part Oxford don, part Indiana Jones, enjoys travelling to extremes' — Traveller Magazine
'Each [essay] is an admirable work in its own right. . . an informative, enjoyable book.' — Adventure Travel Magazine
'An engaging insight into the lives of people who continue to survive in the harsh environments that make up this great historical trade route . . . [The book] succeeds in portraying a far greater insight into the unforgiving territory he visits and sheer warmth of the people he meets . . . crucially, he manages to maintain the right balance of personal experience' — Birmingham Post
'Middleton has good stories to tell, and tells them very well' — BBC Focus Magazine