Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu

Laurence Bergreen

Jealous rivals, murderous thieves, drought or disease could have deterred Marco Polo from undertaking his overland journey, but the legendary adventurer left Venice at age 17 in spite of those threats. Part history and part biography, Bergreen’s Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu follows Polo from Europe to China, where he served in the court of Mongol leader Kublai Kahn for more than 20 years. He traveled with his father and uncle, the three trekking through deserts and mountain passes along traders’ routes that would become known as the Silk Road. Polo and company returned to Venice via India with pocketfuls of gems and enough stories to inspire adventurous travelers for eternity. Bergreen’s telling of those tales serves as a reminder of how wild our world once was.