Bergreen, Laurence. Marco Polo: From Venice to Xanadu. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007. Lively and well-researched biography. Concludes that even though Polo’s book contained some romantic embellishments and outright lies, he was still a perceptive witness to life in the countries in which he traveled.
Cordier, Henri. The Book of Ser Marco Polo the Venetian Concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East. Translated and edited by Sir Henry Yule. 3d ed., rev. Amsterdam: Philo Press, 1975. A two-volume scholarly work in the classic tradition, containing comprehensive historical information and striking visual images. Includes extensive footnotes, drawings, engravings, maps, and photographs to illustrate each chapter of Polo’s work.
_______. Ser Marco Polo: Notes and Addenda. London: John Murray, 1920. Corrections, clarifications, and additions to the 1903 text. Provides further clarification of place names and people named in The Travels of Marco Polo.
Haw, Stephen G. Marco Polo’s China: A Venetian in the Realm of Khubilai Khan. New York: Routledge, 2006. Responds to Wood’s theory (below) that Polo never actually traveled to China and to alleged inaccuracies in Polo’s account of the trip. Haw maintains that Polo did indeed visit China, and he explains why Polo’s travelogue remains an accurate and important source for information about a significant period in Chinese history.
Larner, John. Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1999. Describes how Polo created his account of his travels and the book’s impact on intellectual society in the thirteenth century. Recounts how the book was cowritten by Rustichello da Pisa, a minor author whom Polo met when both men were prisoners in Genoa.
Rugoff, Milton. Introduction to The Travels of Marco Polo. New York: The New American Library, 1961. A solid introduction to Polo’s life and work. Discusses the influence of the book as the first to “pull the veil off the East.”
Wood, Frances. Did Marco Polo Go to China? Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1996. Wood argues that Polo did not make the trip to China; she maintains that his travelogue is not an itinerary but a geography book about Asia, containing information from the works of other travelers, including his father and uncle.