Books about Mongolia

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That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.


Books are the best way to obtain knowledge about everything, such as history, climate, science, and art. To plan Mongolian travel you will need to know about Mongolian history, nature, art and of course culture somehow.  For everyone who is interested in Mongolia here is a list of books we recommend you to read: 

 

John Man: Genghis Khan: Life, Death, and Resurrection

The great introduction about Genghis Khan’s and his life, influences and how he actually created the Great Mongolian Empire with a territory of whole Asia and Europe.  

The book was written in two different styles. One was like a typical history book, explaining an amazing and important historic era surrounding an infamous warrior and an amazingly colorful supporting cast chronologically. 

The other was the writer John Man conversing and traveling with experts of the era and the characters portrayed in visiting certain sights in modern-day where things 'might have happened' during the medieval conquests.

The history chronologic part of the book is easy to review and enjoy. I am sure the author points out in some section that this is almost a simple digestion of the period he is describing and it is mostly about his travels which focus around pre-birth/ youth of Genghis also following his death. 

 

Rupert Isaacson: The Horse Boy 

This book tells the true story of an expedition to northern Mongolia with the author taking his autistic son to meet the shamans – a remarkable journey. 

The whole book describes a father's determination to go to any lengths to help his autistic son, Rowan. Both parents are desperate as conventional therapies are not helping Rowan at all. The real breakthrough comes when Rowan runs into a field of horses and it becomes clear that he has an affinity with these animals. So begins an incredible journey of hardship, to Mongolia, the spiritual home of the horse.

Isaacson's beautiful, lyrical descriptions of this wilderness are truly evocative.

However, the Isaac sons are also having to deal with Rowan's screaming tantrums, bizarre obsessions, and incontinence whilst traveling in the outback on horseback or in a small van. Thanks to their Mongolian leaders, the family is able to meet shamans - spiritual healers along the way. The aim of the journey is to meet Ghoste the most well known and successful healer in Mongolia. I found the fundamental philosophy of this alternative treatment for autism fascinating.
 

 
Jiang Rong: The Wolf Totem 

This is a novel based on the author's experiences as a student worker in Inner Mongolia from 1967 to 1979. While there he became fascinated by the wolves of the region and the life on the grassland. Chen Zhen, our main character, is also a Han Chinese student who has been sent to the grasslands and becomes a sheepherder like an author did. Chen connects mainly with an older Mongolian man named Bilgee, one of the last true nomadic herdsmen of the area, a man full of knowledge about both facts and myths relating to wolves and their place in the grasslands ecosystem. Chen learns to respect not only the wolves but the way of life that he is experiencing even as it disappears before his eyes. The government sends farmers, workers, military men, all of which create chaos in an area that had supported nomadic men and animals for thousands of years. But because the new people lack the awareness to see beyond what they can take from the land, the circle is broken and the partnership between Man and Nature is spoiled forever.

Wolf Totem has been bestseller charts in 2004 all around China. A beautiful and moving portrayal of a land and culture that no longer exists, it is also a powerful portrait of modern China and a fascinating insight into the country's own view of itself, its history and its people. You also can watch the movie which was selected as the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards. 

Jack Weatherford: The Secret History of Mongolian Queens, How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire 

Jack Weatherford is the New York Times bestselling author of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, which sold over 300,000 copies and has been optioned by Wolf Films (producer of Law and Order), Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed The world, his first national bestseller, The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, optioned by The Weinstein Company, and The History of Money, among other acclaimed books that have been published in more than twenty-five languages.

The Mongolian queens of the thirteenth century ruled the largest empire the world has ever known. The daughters of the Silk Route turned their father’s conquests into the first truly international empire, fostering trade, education, and religion throughout their territories and creating an economic system that stretched from the Pacific to the Mediterranean.

Yet sometime near the end of the century, censors cut a section about the queens from the Secret History of the Mongols, and, with that one act, the dynasty of these royals had seemingly been extinguished forever, as even their names were erased from the historical record.

With The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, a groundbreaking and magnificently researched narrative, Jack Weatherford restores the queens’ missing chapter to the annals of history.

 

Carl Robinson: Odyssey Guide Mongolia, The Land of the Eternal Blue Sky 

An exciting new addition to Odyssey's "Companion" series, exploring Mongolia's history, culture and geography through insightful writing, plenty of practicalities, and beautiful imagery. 

This beautifully illustrated book provides a comprehensive and insightful guide to the diverse natural history and rich culture of 'The Land of the Eternal Blue Sky.

Liza Carter: Moving with the Seasons: Portrait of a Mongolian Family

This book is a visual and written portrait of life in a nomadic Mongolian family. Filled with photographs and personal perspectives on daily life, this book is an outgrowth of the authors’ relationship with the family who became her collaborators in writing this book. The author once said that  “Moving with the Seasons is both timely in its appeal to the growing awareness in the West that we have a lot to learn from traditional peoples before their ways of life disappear, and timeless in its representation of the humanity of the nomadic family profiled in the book.”

The book is filled with beautiful and touching color photographs. The author spent quite a lot of time with the family and then returned to her home in Massachusetts. She went back several times to travel with them. It was fascinating to find out what it took for her to track down the family as they moved around according to the seasons.

Henning Haslund: Men And Gods In Mongolia

First published in 1935, this rare and unusual travel book takes us into the virtually unknown world of Mongolia, a country that only now, after 70 years, is finally opening up to the west. Haslund, a Danish-Swedish explorer, takes us to the lost city of Kharkhorin and Gobi desert, meets the Bogd Gegeen, a god-king Mongolia similar to the Dalai Lama of Tibet. 

Most incredibly, he writes about the Hiimori, an “хийморь” that flies through the sky and carries with it the sacred stone of Chintamani. And there is plenty of just plain adventure: camel caravans; initiation into Shamanic societies; reincarnated warlords; and the violent birth of modern Mongolia. This rare and exciting book is now back in print! So don’t miss your chance to read. 

Stephen J. Bodio: Eagle Dreams: Searching for Legends in Wild Mongolia 

As a boy, the author of the book Bodio was always fascinated with nature. When he saw an image in National Geographic of a Kazakh nomad, dressed in a long coat and wearing a fur hat, holding a huge eagle on his fist, his life was changed from then on. When Mongolia became independent in 1990, Bodio knew that his dream to see the eagle hunters from the picture in National Geographic so many years ago was soon to become a reality.

In Eagle Dreams, readers follow Bodio on his long-awaited trip to Mongolia, where he spent months with the people and birds of his dreams. He is finally able to visit the birthplace of falconry and observe the traditions that have survived intact through the ages. Not only does he get to witness things most people will never be able to, but he’s also able to give life to his dreams and the people, landscapes, and animals of Mongolia that have become part of his soul. 

This is a great book to learn about Mongolian Eagle Hunters.
 

There are a lot more books written about Mongolia. As a famous quote says: 

So many books, so little time.

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