I have had the absolute pleasure of visiting Khiva, Uzbekistan. I witnessed the beauty of its Islamic architecture, intricate designs, stunning colors, and beautiful people. But nothing on my visit took me into the depth of Khiva's story like the words from Alexander's book. I am sure there are books that more thoroughly cover themes found in this book: Khiva's history, Central Asian Islamic culture, Soviet society, humanitarian work, carpet weaving and natural dyes. But I love how Alexander weaves these themes together in a contemporary real-life story that both engages and educates the reader. Alexander peels back several layers of superficial misunderstandings to expose the complex intersection of diverse forces at work in Khiva, and one man's hope to establish a cottage industry and transform a few lives in the process. Definitely worth reading.