The Travels of Friar Odoric: A Fourteenth-Century Journal of the Blessed Odoric Pordenone Hardcover – Nov 7 2001
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Not long after Marco Polo traveled east to extend the reach of trade, a Franciscan friar, Odoric of Pordenone, sought to push Christianity in the same direction. According to both his account of his expedition and Paolo Chiesa's detailed introduction to this edition of an 1866 translation, Odoric was a simple, doggedly devoted servant of God. Yet at the time of his death, in 1331, this pious, largely unremarkable man was considered a candidate for sainthood because of the long, difficult mission to Asia. Odoric's humble narrative carries us through the wonders of the East with striking succinctness and clarity. Although his deep interest in the countries and cultures he explored comes through vividly, he never forgets his duty, and all the sights and sounds he absorbs are filtered through his singular sense of divine purpose. In the end, Odoric's travelogue works as both an outsider's educated perception of an entrancing place and time and the tale of one man who moved closer to God by traveling toward the sunrise. Will Hickman
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