His journey through the East began in 1271when, still a teenager, he set out of Venice and found himself traversing the most exotic countries. His acceptance into the court of the great emperor Kublai Khan, and his service to the vast and dazzling Mongol empire, led him to places as far away as Tibet and Burma, lands rich with gems and gold and silk, but virtually unknown to Europeans.
Later, as a prisoner of war, Marco Polo would record the details of his remarkable travels across harsh deserts, great mountain ranges, and dangerous seas, as well as of his encounters with beasts and birds, plants and people. His amazing chronicle is both fascinating and awe-inspiringand still serves as the most vivid depiction of the mysterious East in the Middle Ages.
Edited and with an Introduction by Milton Rugoff and an Afterword by Howard Mittelmark
About the Author
Marco Polo (12541324) was the son of a Venetian merchant and traveler. In 1271, Marco, with his father and uncle, began a journey that four years later led to their being accepted at the court of Kublai Khan. During these years, they traveled extensively in Persia and China, through regions almost totally unknown to the Western world. In service to the Khan, Marco explored Tibet and Burma and many of the remote provinces of China; it is possible that he went to the southern parts of India as well. Participating in a military conflict between Genoa and Venice, he was taken prisoner in 1298. While in captivity, he dictated the Travels of Marco Polo to a fellow prisoner.
Milton Rugoff was a longtime editor for several publishing houses. He is the author of a number of books, including A Harvest of World Folk Tales, Marco Polo’s Adventures in China, The Great Travelers, and The Beechers: An American Family in the Nineteenth Century, which was nominated for an American Book Award in 1982.
Howard Mittelmark is an editor, book critic, and coauthor of How Not to Write a Novel. He lives in New York City.