Mongolia Reading List
Mongolia lacks a large amount of books written about it with most focusing on the history and in particular Genghis Khan and the Mongolian Empire. Good travel writing is hard to come by but the selection below should satisfy most and if you have any books you have come across that can be added please let us know.
GHENGHIS KHAN & THE MAKING OF THE MODERN WORLD - JACK WEATHERFORD
Genghis Khan’s army conquered more land in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. Despite a reputation for brutality in warfare they brought law and order with them which led to more trade, better communications and enduring civilisations. Genghis abolished torture, tore down feudal fiefdoms and allowed religious freedom. This book charts the rise of Genghis and his impact on the world we live in today.
THE TRAVELS OF MARCO POLO THE VENETIAN - ELIBRON CLASSICS
The 13th Century traveller Marco Polo was both a famed traveller of his time and his stories and exploits are still well known even today. His accounts of his travels from Venice to China and back make for an amazing story that brings to life the era he lived in like few if any other texts. This book allows you to immerse yourself into that long lost world.
THE SECRET HISTORY OF MONGOL QUEENS - JACK WEATHERFORD
This is a fascinating story of the women who ruled alongside the famous Khans of the Mongol Empire and their role in developing the pax Mongolia that led to the prospering of trade and education after the initial conquests. This is also a story of the power struggles between the daughters of Genghis that eventually led them to be written out of the history yet the legends and stories live on.
WALKING HOME FROM MONGOLIA - ROB LILWALL
A truly epic journey that starts in the Gobi desert before moving on 3,000 miles in 6 months through China. More focused on China this is nevertheless a good read and insight into the lands that border Mongolia. It is also a classic adventures story of hardship and exploration of areas that foreigners have rarely travelled in. Although quite recent it provides a fascinating snapshot in time of a fast changing China.
MONGOLIA - TRAVELS IN THE UNTAMED LAND - JASPER BECKER
Mongolia was pretty much closed to foreign travel until the late 1980s. Becker was one of the first to explore the country in detail starting his journey in Khubilai’s Khans old Mongolian city of Beijing and following a route deep into Mongolia. All this at a fascinating time of real change as the country made the wrench from a planned communist system to free market capitalism and fledgling democracy.
THE LOST COUNTRY - MONGOLIA REVEALED - JASPER BECKER
Jasper Becker travelled throughout Central Asia this time including Mongolia bringing insight into the history and turbulence that Mongolia has been through in the last Century in particular. This is one of the best travel books on Mongolia and essential and ideal reading on the train to Ulaanbaatar! A little dated as Mongolia has changed much in the last decade but still a very good read.
EAGLE DREAMS - STEPHEN J. BODIO
This follows the authors life long interest in the nomadic eagle hunters of the west of Mongolia. This method of hunting has changed little over the centuries and he spends months with the hunters learning the rituals and delicate relationship they have with their birds. However, this book also give valuable insight in to the nomadic life that is loved across much of Mongolia.
THE LOST HEART OF ASIA - COLIN THUBRON
This is a superb book and often cited as one of the best travel literature has on Central Asia. Although not focused on Mongolia in particular it does cover the history that the Mongol invasions set in train and so is valuable reading that is also likely to wet the appetite for some of the other Central Asian countries. Thubron travels from the Parmir Mountain to the desert and Steppe bringing this area to life with stories and anecdotes.
KHUBILAI KHAN - MORRIS ROSSABI
Living from 1215 to 1294 Khubilai Khan is one of history's most renowned figures. Here for the first time is an English-language biography of the man. Morris Rossabi draws on sources from a variety of East Asian, Middle Eastern, and European languages as he focuses on the life and times of the great Mongol monarch.