Khogno Khan Nature Reserve during our Modern Nomads Mongolia winter tour
Mongolia Winter Trip – Modern Nomads
December 30, 2019
A birvaz ferry. One way to cross a Mongolian river
How To Cross A Mongolian River
February 15, 2020
A series of books about Mongolia

Books About Mongolia

Preparing for a holiday can take many forms, but delving into literature offers a unique opportunity to explore a country’s rich tapestry of history, culture, and aspirations before you even set foot there. Through reading, you gain valuable insights into the distinct components that have shaped the country you’re eager to explore, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of its essence.

With that in mind, I’m excited to introduce the EL Reading List: ‘Books About Mongolia.’ Dive into these captivating reads to immerse yourself in Mongolia’s past, present, and future, and embark on a literary journey that will enrich your travel experience.

I update the list annually to ensure its relevance and inclusivity and welcome your recommendations for any books on Mongolia that you believe should be included on our list and that you believe would enhance our readers’ understanding and appreciation of Mongolia!

My Books About Mongolia Recommendation

I recommend Young Mongols, Forging Democracy In The Wild, Wild East, by Aubrey Menard. This powerful, inclusive book introduces readers to modern Mongolia through the stories of young leaders fighting to make their country a better, more democratic place – https://www.youngmongols.com/

Quote from Young Mongols book in our Books about Mongolia reading list

Books About Mongolia: History

Jack Weatherford: Genghis Khan And The Making Of The Modern World 

‘ Compared to the difficulty of daily life for the herders, living permanently in those areas, ours were only the smallest of irritations.’

Genghis Khan And The Making Of The Modern World

 Uncover the fascinating history of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire, including insights into why Mongolians refer to him as Chinggis, not Genghis. Prepare to have your preconceptions challenged as you gain a fresh perspective on the events that unfolded from the 12th century onwards. Jack Weatherford’s acclaimed works, such as “Genghis Khan and the Quest for God” and “Mongol Queens,” offer insightful explorations that illuminate this pivotal era.

John Man: Genghis Khan: Life, Death and Resurrection 

Cover of Genghis Khan by John Man in our blog post Books About Mongolia

For those eager to delve into the life and enduring legacy of Chinggis Khan, John Man’s books, “Genghis Khan” and “The Mongol Empire,” offer insightful introductions. These works provide comprehensive explorations of Chinggis Khan’s life and the vast impact of the Mongol Empire. If you find yourself captivated by Man’s writing style, you’ll also appreciate his biography of Kublai Khan, which adds further depth and context to the remarkable saga of the Mongol Empire.

For a deeper understanding of the Gobi Desert’s fascinating terrain and cultural significance, I also recommend John Man’s ‘Tracking the Gobi.’ His vivid narrative style brings this captivating landscape to life, immersing readers into its history and complexities.

Expeditions To Mongolia

Books About Mongolia: Expeditions to Mongolia

Mongolia has captured the imagination of explorers and adventurers for centuries. But, in an era before air travel, trains, Wi-Fi, and before when Mongolia became essentially inaccessible to foreigners due to the communist government’s restrictions from 1921, the country held an aura of remoteness and mystery. Indeed, the phrase “Outer Mongolia” became synonymous with the farthest reaches of the earth. Despite these challenges, intrepid explorers embarked on daring expeditions, defying the odds and venturing into the unknown.

Use our blog post to access free online books chronicling these historical expeditions – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/expeditions-in-mongolia/

Travel

Books About Mongolia: Travel

Rupert Isaacson: The Horse Boy: A Father’s Quest to Heal His Son

Book Cover - The Horse Boy

 

  • Experience the remarkable true story of an expedition to northern Mongolia, where the author embarks on a deeply personal journey with his autistic son to meet the shamans. This extraordinary adventure not only reveals the captivating landscapes of Mongolia but also explores the profound connections between nature, spirituality, and human resilience. Join them on a transformative odyssey that transcends boundaries and illuminates the power of love, understanding, and acceptance.
  • https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4897884-the-horse-boy

Helen Thayer: Walking The Gobi

Book Cover - Walking The Gobi

  • At the age of 63, Helen Thayer fulfilled her lifelong dream of crossing Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. Accompanied by her 74-year-old husband Bill and two camels, Tom and Jerry, Thayer walked 1600 miles. This is the ultimate vicarious adventure!
  • https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1194910.Walking_the_Gobi

Lara Prior-Palmer: Rough Magic

Rough Magic book cover

Louisa Waugh: Hearing Birds Fly

Book Cover - Hearing Birds Fly

Tim Cope: On the Trails Of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads

Book cover - On The Trail Of Genghis Khan

Early in his journey, adversity struck when Cope’s horses were stolen one fateful night. However, fate intervened, and the following day, he spotted a herd of horses being swiftly guided by a lone horseman. To his amazement, among the pack were his two stolen horses. Approaching the horseman, Cope was greeted with a grin and a surprising revelation: “These two horses came to me this morning,” the horseman declared. “You must have tied them badly.”

In a remarkable display of generosity and understanding, the horseman returned Cope’s horses without asking for compensation. Instead, he imparted a valuable lesson, rooted in the unwritten code of the steppe: “A man on the steppe with no friends is as narrow as a finger,” the horseman explained. “A man with friends is as wide as the steppe.”

 

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

  • For those contemplating a journey to western Mongolia, this book offers a compelling insight into the lives of the Kazakh eagle hunters. Through immersive storytelling, the author recounts his experience of living among these skilled hunters and their majestic birds, providing a vivid portrayal of their traditions and way of life. Whether you’re planning a visit to the region or simply seeking to understand its cultural richness, this book serves as an invaluable guide, offering a glimpse into the captivating world of the Kazakh eagle hunters.
  • https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/141845.Eagle_Dreams

Eagle Dreams

“Each time I return I see constant changes alongside the things that never change. I love its paradoxes, its space and hospitality, its freedom and ancient customs. Its is a place of great roadless areas, all known and inhabited since prehistory. It is wild enough for great horned sheep; wolves, snow leopards and the last undomesticated camels; with the lowest human population density on the earth. It is the home of Buddhist hunters and Muslims who toast their guests with vodka. I can’t get enough of it, and probably never will.”

Books About Mongolia: Older Travel Publications

  • Stanley Stewart: In the Empire of Genghis Khan; A Journey Among Nomads
  • Nick Middleton: The Last Disco in Outer Mongolia
  • Jasper Becker: The Lost Country: Mongolia Revealed
  • Tim Severin: In Search Of Genghis Khan

Fiction Set in Mongolia

Books About Mongolia: Fiction Set in Mongolia

Conn Iggulden: The Conqueror Series 

  • The Conqueror Series is a historical fiction series that chronicles Mongolian life and the rise of the Mongol Empire under Genghis, Ogodei, and Kubilai Khan. These books offer a blend of historical accuracy and fictional storytelling, providing readers with a rich and immersive experience of Mongolian history and the rise of one of the greatest empires in human history.

Jiang Rong: Wolf Totem

Book cover of Wolf Totem

 

    • Embark on a journey to the untamed expanses of Inner Mongolia amidst the tumult of China’s Cultural Revolution. Winner of the Asian Man Booker Prize, this tale blends elements of fiction and biography to transport readers to a pivotal time in history.

href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1217728.Wolf_Totem”>https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1217728.Wolf_Totem

Quan Barry: When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East

Oyungerel Tsedevdamba & Jeffrey Lester Falt: The Green Eyed Lama

  • Inspired by true events, wenter the world of 1938 Mongolia, where the winds of change blow with chilling force. In “The Green-Eyed Lama,” readers are transported to a nation in turmoil, where the newly installed communist regime unleashes a brutal purge that leaves devastation in its wake. Against this backdrop of political upheaval, we follow the story of Sendmaa, a young nomadic herdswoman, and Baasan, a Buddhist lama.
  • https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43799270-the-green-eyed-lama

Biography

Books About Mongolia: Biography

Uuganaa Ramsay: Mongol

  • Uuganaa’s journey spans continents and cultures, from the steppes of Mongolia to the streets of Britain. In her poignant memoir, she offers a deeply personal account of her experiences as a Mongol woman living in a foreign land and grappling with the challenges of motherhood. Raised in a nomadic herding family in Mongolia, Uuganaa’s upbringing was steeped in tradition and resilience. But when her newborn son Billy is diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome, her world is forever changed. Through skillful storytelling, Uuganaa intricately weaves together the narrative of her own childhood in Mongolia with the heartbreaking yet transformative journey of Billy’s short life. In this powerful memoir, Uuganaa delves into the complexities of identity, belonging, and the universal quest for acceptance and understanding.
  • https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19342727-mongol

Ornithology

Books About Mongolia: Ornithology

  • Norman Arlott: Birds of Europe, Russia, China, and Japan
  • John MacKinnon: A Field Guide to the Birds of China: Ornithology

  • Mark Brazil: Birds of East Asia

Children's Books

Books About Mongolia: Children’s Books

James Aldridge: The Marvellous Mongolian

  • This is a children’s book but with delightful details about Mongolian culture and the Przewalskii horses. The story is written in the form of letters between Kitty, who lives on a Wild Life Reserve in Wales, and Baryut, who lives with his family in the mountains of Mongolia. As the novel progresses, so does their friendship and their understanding of one another’s culture.
  • https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1345542.The_Marvellous_Mongolian

For more children’s books based in or around Mongolia, see this great link.

If you enjoyed our recommended books on Mongolia and wish to delve deeper into Mongolian culture, consider exploring our curated selection of films and podcasts about Mongolia. You can find them on our website at the following links: Films About Mongolia – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/films-about-mongolia/ Podcasts on Mongolia – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/podcasts-about-mongolia/

Jess @ Eternal Landscapes

Jessica Brooks
Jessica Brooks
I'm Jess Brooks, the founder of Eternal Landscapes Mongolia and the voice behind EL's blog posts. For more than a decade, since 2006, I've been based in Mongolia, working closely with my beloved Mongolian team to advocate for a tourism approach that brings about positive change.. What sets our blog apart is our deep understanding of Mongolia—our home. Unlike content from influencers or creators, our posts prioritise authenticity and firsthand knowledge as guiding principles.
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