“[Tamm's] prose and dry wit, which earned him the 2011 Ottawa Book Award for Non-fiction, sustains readers masterfully through a grand scope of nearly 500 pages,” writers human rights activist Amy Reger in a book review in the Asian Sentinel.
At the National Library and Archives, Mayor Jim Watson announced that I won the 2011 Ottawa Book Award for Non-fiction, beating out literary and journalistic heavyweights Charlotte Gray, Tim Cook, Roy McGregor, and Martin Lawrence. The award jury said it was a book “which combines vivid travelogue, historic inquiry and personal essay, richly rewards readers with a rare blend of epic sweep and intimate meditation.”
Eric Enno Tamm’s The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds: A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road, and the Rise of Modern China (Douglas & McIntyre) is a fascinating, sweeping combination of history and travelogue… [a] compulsively readable book.
A sophisticated journalist indeed, Mr. Tamm gathers observations like gemstones as he crosses “a gauntlet of political and geographical extremes, including some of the world’s hottest deserts, highest mountains and cruellest dictatorships” stretching 17,000 kilometres. – Book review by George Fetherling in The Diplomat.
Writers at Vancouver’s Georgia Straight picked 15 books that “did the most to capture our imagination and get us talking… they’ve stuck with us the closest, and loom largest in our memory.” The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds was picked as one of them. Here’s what the reviewer Alexander Varty has to say:
TheTyee.ca recommends The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds for “the person who likes to read spy stories alone in Chinese restaurants.” The reviewer goes on: “A Russian agent sets forth on orders to document China’s modernization and is stunned to see what’s going on there — in 1906. That yarn is intertwined with Tamm’s first-hand reporting on China today in a brilliantly complex piece of non-fiction storytelling.”
Once one of the world’s forgotten trade routes, the Silk Road has recently become so popular that there are more would-be travel journalists trekking the old camel trail than there are tractor trailers on the Coquihalla (way too many, in other words).
I began reading The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds mindful of Pankaj Mishra’s recent comment that “the societies I travelled through are too internally diverse to be summed up by broad generalizations of the kind preferred by policy-makers and op-ed columnists.” The premise of Eric Enno Tamm’s book, subtitled A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road and the Rise of Modern China, invited similar skepticism but won me over on nearly every page.
It’s a captivating ride in an area of the world that has gone largely unreported and Tamm is an engaging guide.
An excerpt of a review by Jonathan Clements, the author of Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy: Author Eric Enno Tamm is a journalist with firm ecological credentials and no fear of rattling cages. Applying for a visa in Vancouver, Tamm finds his path blocked by Chinese officialdom, but this only spurs him even more to imitate [...]
Wade Davis, legendary anthropologist and National Geographic Explorer, is perhaps the most articulate and influential western advocate for the world’s indigenous cultures. Through stunning photographs and evocative stories, he parlays a sense of wonder into passionate concern over the rate at which cultures and languages are disappearing – 50 percent of the world’s 6,000 languages, he says, are no longer taught to children.
My publisher Douglas & McIntyre and I are holding a reader review contest to help kick start the conversation about The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds. The first dozen people to upload a review on Amazon.ca will win a signed copy of The Horse That Leaps Through Clouds or my first book, Beyond The Outer Shores: The Untold Story of Ed Ricketts, the Pioneering Ecologist Who Inspired John Steinbeck and Joseph Campbell
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"[Tamm's] prose and dry wit, which earned him the 2011 Ottawa Book Award for Non-fiction, sustains r…