Marco Polo

Marco Polo

By: Manuel Komroff
Published by: Julian Messner, Inc.
Publication Date: 1952
Series: Messner Shelf of Biographies

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Young Marco Polo's eyes and ears lifted the pall from the Dark Ages. What he saw and heard on his travels opened the door that had been closed for centuries between Europe and the Orient. And his fantastic adventures began when he was seventeen . . .

Sailing with his father and uncle from Venice in 1271, Marco was the first traveller to trace a route across the vast expanse of Asia; the first to record the bone-strewn deserts of Persia, and the long Mongolian steppes which had spawned barbarian conquerors. He was the first to write of Tibet, of golden-towered Burma and cannibal Sumatra. He faced the fierce and fabulous Kublai Khan, Emperor of Asia, Tartar terror of the world. As an unbiased reporter, he won the Emperor's respect and friendship and was appointed to high posts.

Here is the romance and excitement of glamorous Cathay as Marco Polo lived and loved it. He visited the dazzling pleasure city of Xanadu, and hunted with the Emperor, camping in tents lined with ermine and sable. He saw luxury never matched, and brutality never equalled. In a brilliant barbaric world he witnessed the clash of splendor and squalor, culture and savagery. On missions for Kublai Khan he journeyed to lands that no European was able to penetrate for centuries to come.

After twenty four years Marco returned to Venice to defend his city in sea battles with the marauding Genoese. Captured and imprisoned, he correlated his travel notes in his cell. After his release his book was copied and circulated, bringing him fame. But skeptics refused to believe that he had actually seen coal, paper money, oil that bubbled from the ground. Many scoffed at his tales of the Great Wall of China and the Garden of Paradise . . .

Marco's greatest triumph lay a hundred years ahead, when another young Italian read his book, and believed it. Christopher Columbus, seeking the fabled Orient, found America instead.

Dedicated to "all young people who dream of places far away and long ago, who dream of wonders, myths and marvels"; here is a story to stir the imagination and recapture the mystery and wonder of a fabulous period in world history.

From the dust jacket


Few Europeans had ever visited Asia in the thirteenth century, and none had seen more than a tiny part of that vast, mysterious continent to the east. Rumors of magnificent kingdoms, unbelievable riches, fierce warrior tribes were common... but a young man named Marco Polo was determined to find out the truth for himself!

In the year 1271, when he was just seventeen, Marco set sail on a fantastic voyage that was to last twenty-four years—and produce the most exciting travel diary every written. He would become the first European to trace a route completely across the vast expanse of Asia... the first to write of incredible Tibet, of golden-towered Burma, of the pink pearls and jewel-studded palaces of Japan.

Marco Polo's travels would take him to Java and Sumatra, India and Ceylon, and to arctic regions where people rode in dog-drawn sleds. He would be the first European to see the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canal, paper money, the black stones we now call coal, and hundreds of other things that were still unheard of in Europe!

But the greatest surprise of all awaited Marco at the marble palace of the Kublai Khan in legendary Cathay (now China). For rather than the savage conqueror the Khan was believed to be, he found a wise and just ruler, beloved by all his subjects. Marco and the Khan formed a friendship which was to last for the eighteen years the adventurer remained in Cathay... years during which he would often visit the dazzling pleasure city of Xanadu.

No man has ever experienced a more exciting and unusual trip than Marco Polo's—and the careful journals he kept all through his travels let us see a vivid portrait of each exotic episode!

From the dust jacket of the Junior Deluxe Edition of this book

Marco Polo Reprint

Marco Polo
Reprinted in 2019 by Living Book Press
Available formats: Hardcover, Ebook
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Included is a gorgeous new map tracing his journey, and 29 full page illustrations from an early edition written for adults.

The text in this edition is a reprint of the original Messner Biography, a series that was created for students.

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