Eurasian Crossroads

A History of Xinjiang

James Millward

Columbia University Press

Eurasian Crossroads

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Pub Date: July 2009

ISBN: 9780231139250

352 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00

Pub Date: April 2007

ISBN: 9780231139243

352 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00

Pub Date: April 2007

ISBN: 9780231511322

352 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $29.99

Eurasian Crossroads

A History of Xinjiang

James Millward

Columbia University Press

Eurasian Crossroads is the first comprehensive history of Xinjiang, the vast central Eurasian region bordering India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia. Forming one-sixth of the People's Republic of China (PRC), Xinjiang stands at the crossroads between China, India, the Mediterranean, and Russia and has, since the Bronze Age, played a pivotal role in the social, cultural, and political development of Asia and the world.

Xinjiang was once the hub of the Silk Road and the conduit through which Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam entered China. It was also the point at which the Chinese, Turkic, Tibetan, and Mongolian empires communicated and struggled with one another. Xinjiang's population comprises Kazakhs, Kirghiz, and Uighurs, all Turkic Muslim peoples, as well as Han Chinese, and competing Chinese and Turkic nationalist visions continue to threaten the region's political and economic stability. Besides separatist concerns, Xinjiang's energy resources, strategic position, and rapid development have gained it international attention in recent decades.

Drawing on primary sources in several Asian and European languages, James Millward presents a thorough study of Xinjiang's history and people from antiquity to the present and takes a balanced look at the position of Turkic Muslims within the PRC today. While offering fresh material and perspectives for specialists, this engaging survey of Xinjiang's rich environmental, cultural, and ethno-political heritage is also written for travelers, students, and anyone eager to learn about this vital connector between East and West.

Eurasian Crossroads is a superbly written history of a region little known to American readers. James Millward introduces many fascinating, diverse actors into the story of Xinjiang and makes excellent use of existing monographs and primary source material. There is no comparable study in the field.

Peter C. Perdue, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Eurasian Crossroads is a highly readable history of this vast and crucial region, where China's high-speed development drive collides with the aspirations of Muslim communities for national identity and cultural preservation. James Millward skillfully weaves all the different strands of Xinjiang's complex history into the colorful tapestry of his book, which is set to become the definitive reference on Xinjiang for laymen and scholars alike.

Rob Gifford, former China correspondent for National Public Radio

The scope and depth of Mr. Millward's latest text is unmatched.

Ilaria Maria Sala, Far Eastern Economic Review

The requisite scholarly reading on the region.

Nicolas Becquelin, China Quarterly

[An] excellent... and invaluable book.

Jonathan Mirsky, New York Review of Books

Well written, well documented, analytical, detailed and stimulating. I recommend it strongly.

Colin MacKerras, American Historical Review

The first successful attempt to grapple with the entire history of Xinjiang... Recommended.


A masterful and insightful piece of integrative scholarship, unique in the literature in its scope and execution, and a pleasure to read.

Morgan Liu, H-Soyuz

Millward's book fills an important gap in the growing literature on Xingjiang, and it will be indispensable to students.

Ildiko Beller-Hann, The Journal of Asian Studies
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About the Author

James Millward is professor of intersocietal history at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He specializes in the history of China and Central Eurasia, including Xinjiang. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, a journalist, and two daughters.