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Murderers in Mausoleums

Riding the Back Roads of Empire Between Moscow and Beijing

By Jeffrey Tayler

Murderers in Mausoleums
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2009,
    320 pages.

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There are currently 13 reader reviews for Murderers in Mausoleums
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Carol (10/05/08)

Murderers in Mausoleums
The story of a journalist's travels from Moscow through Beijing. The idea to converse with the locals, understand their opinion of their government and their view of the US and the West was a good idea but fell far short of what I had expected. I had difficulty understanding in the outlying republics which are now independent of Russia, the hate for George Bush and the seeming embrace of Putin and authoritarianism. In China the author notes the inhabitants love of Western "culture", i.e. nightclubs, music, dress, vs.the popularity with some of Genghis Khan and the celebration of National Day and Mao The book would have been relevant if the author could have provided a more robust perspective of why these individuals would choose autocratic government vs. democracy. How can the atrocities committed by these leaders not create a drive towards free societies?
C (10/04/08)

Murderers In Mausoleums
Get out your Atlas as you follow Jeffrey Tayler's travels in Murderers In Mausoleums. The author takes you on a sometimes too detailed trip describing history at great length and spending too much time talking about the landscape as he traveled. While I found that interesting, I would have preferred more about the people he met and the discussions they had about "why democracy isn't thriving" as we Westerners think it should be. Overall, not what I expected from the book jacket description, but interesting nonetheless.
Donna Lynn Edwards (10/04/08)

Murderers in Mausoleums
Reading Murderers in Mausoleums, you will gain a vital understanding of Russia and China; their culture, their ideals, their fears, their struggles as our global neighbors. Jeffrey Tayler, is a correspondent whose purpose in writing the book is to find out for himself how the people who were once the oppressed are now viewing a renaissance taking place in their countries. He also wants to talk with the people deep within the country, to get a sense of how they feel about the West, especially the United States. What he hears will astonish you.

The book is a journal of his 7,200 mile trip that begins in Red Square and ends in Tiananmen Square. Travel is undeniably a hardship with many obstacles to overcome. Schedules are not always followed. Passports are checked with no consistency. The ubiquitous guards perusing papers will often hold Tayler for a payoff, or just to be officious and obnoxious. He endures extreme hostile climatic conditions, stress from potential threats to his life and difficult barriers that others would not have endured. I applaud with my deepest respect his valiant pursuit to achieve his goal. Some areas he visited he claims no westerner has ever seen. Amazing!

Murderers in Mausoleums a reference to the leaders who we now know were not rulers as much as murderers, has the excitement of a novel. At the same time it contains a valuable visual and oral history. This plurality creates a harmonious balance that should capture the attention of those readers who shun history books. You will definitely gain more global awareness so necessary in today’s troubled times.

Jeffrey Tayler the transcontinental traveler who stops at nothing to get an interview, offers a rare insiders look from so far away. Shocking and alluring, this book offers both. 5 out of 5
Diane (10/03/08)

Murderers In Mausoleums
I really liked this book. It combines historical background with a fascinating journey through countries which used to be part of the Soviet Union - from Georgia to Kazakhstan and Western China, Jeffrey Tayler paints a portrait of the current economic, cultural and ethnic situations through meetings with local political activists, artists and many others. His descriptions of his hair-raising car and bus journeys make one feel as if you too barely survived them. This book is particularly relevant given the recent incursion by Russia into Georgia. Fascinating and valuable insights into countries which may be in the headlines in the future.
Ganesh Prasad (09/26/08)

Russia to China: Past and Present
The most interesting part is the parallel flow of information from the past and the present. Jeffrey Tayler, who seems to know this subject well and also who speaks various languages, has done a very good job of explaining the facts, as he knows, as he interviews and talks to people. He takes us all the way from Russia to China and in the most practical way. Even more interesting is that we are never lost in this journey. I would agree with rest of the readers who have commented that this is an interesting book and I recommend reading this.
Laura (09/24/08)

From Moa to Moscow
The world is just starting to recognize the renewed power and strength - both politically and economically - of Russia and China. Yet most of us in the West don't have a clue when it comes to the culture and internal politics that shape them. Jeffrey Tayler's unique book uses a microscope to examine some of the most interesting backwaters in between these two giants. He talks to rebellious Cossacks, Muslim minorities and Genghis Khan worshipping Mongols excavating their fears, motivations and passions. It develops into more of an anthropological or ethnographic study as Tayler gathers stories full of nationalistic fervor and closely held cultural mythologies.

This is an important book for anyone interested in world affairs especially given the recent conflicts in the area.
Anne (09/22/08)

Murderer in Ancient Lands
As a student of Anthropology, I became engrossed in this book with it's "far-a-way" places that take me back, not just to my studying days, but to that dream land I used to fantasize about as a student, to those people who lived there and what life must have been like so long ago. Another mystery, will we ever know what really happened? And what happens in that land now, with all of the technology and information, truth is always hidden behind speculation, here-say and people's obscured witness. A good read, a good mystery, a good life lesson.
Shelby (09/17/08)

Bone up on your Russian history!
Although dense with history and visits to all the "stans" this book gives very good reason to consider the position of the US in foreign affairs.

The author travels from Moscow to Beiing speaking to the locals about their political views and the insights are stunning.

I found it very interesting as someone who is unfamiliar with this part of the world but would recommend you acquaint yourself with Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union before you read it. Each person seems to come from a different ethnic group and references to them can be very confusing.

It's worth the read though if only for the feel you get of each place.
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