Tuesday, September 20, 2016

THE GREAT THINKERS OF THE KAZAKH STEPPE by Yerkebulan Dzhelbuldin (trans. Dana Jeteyeva) ✮ ✮ ✮

I was motivated to read this book because I was participating in a reading challenge for the Olympics, for which I needed a philosophy book either about Kazakhstan or by a writer from there. After a lot of digging I found this title, just released in the United Kingdom.
In the interest of full exposure, I must admit that I really am not overly fond of pure philosophy. This book, however, was about how the cultural factors in the area and its unique global location between the Arab west and the oriental east affect the thinking of this region.

The book contains twelve chapters, each of which deals with the life and work of a single great Kazakh thinker. Some of these people were involved in politics, some in music and literature, and others were known for their intellect and their role as teachers.

My one issue with the book was that it was quite a difficult read. Not because of the ideas that were central to the book but because the translation was very rough. My guess is that the Kazakh language does not have article adjectivesóa, an, and theóand that their sentence structure is vastly different from ours. I am thinking that plural nouns might not be present either. There are also a large number of vocabulary words which, while the definition might make one think that the word worked, had a connotation that was not in keeping with the circumstances in which the word was used.


Overall, I did enjoy learning about the culture and intellectual life of this country at the crossroads of the east and west. It appears to be a one of a kind book, and although it wasnít an easy read, neither was it a slog. If the topic interests you, I would read the book.

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