Pilgrims on the Silk Road challenges conventional wisdom about the trek to Central Asia and the settlement of Ak Metchet. It shows how the story, long associated with failed End Times prophecies, is being recast in light of new evidence. Pilgrims highlights the role of Ak Metchet as a refuge for those fleeing Soviet oppression, and the continuing influence of the episode more than twelve decades later.
“In Pilgrims on the Silk Road, Ratliff has brought to light a fascinating but little known chapter in the history of European involvement in Central Asia, along the silk road. His portrait of the Mennonite mission to Khiva makes for great reading and an excellent companion to such classic works as Peter Hopkirk’s The Great Game.”
—Charles M. Stang, Harvard Divinity School
“Walter Ratliff’s history of the Mennonite Great Trek to Central Asia offers a new angle of vision upon one of the most remarkable events of Mennonite history. Pilgrims on the Silk Road puts the Great Trek into the context of nineteenth century imperial rivalry and of the Russian conquest of Khiva. The author tells tales of Muslim-Christian cooperation that resonate with meaning in our twenty-first century of religious polarization. Ratliff’s perspective is revisionist without being contentious. I hope this book will find a wide readership.”
—James Juhnke, Bethel College (KS), emeritus