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

Everyone prepares differently for a holiday but reading can be a way to explore a country’s past, present, and future before you arrive. You become more aware of the separate elements that have helped to create the country you wish to experience. Here are the details of the EL Reading List  – ‘Books About Mongolia.’

Young Mongols, Forging Democracy In The Wild, Wild East, by Aubrey Menard. A recent publication, 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 –



John Man

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

Books About Mongolia - The Mongol Empire

This is a good introduction to Genghis Khan’s life and his influences. The Mongol Empire is similar in its focus. Also, for an in-depth introduction on the Gobi, I highly recommend John Man’s Tracking the Gobi. If you like his style of writing, he has written about the life of Kubilai Khan as well.

  • The Mongol Empire: Genghis Khan, his heirs and the founding of modern China
  • Kublai Khan 
  • The Leadership Secrets of Genghis Khan

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

 The history of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire and its impact. It will challenge your preconceptions and give you a fresh perspective on the 12th century onwards. Jack Weatherford has also written the excellent Mongol Queens as well as Genghis Khan and the Quest For God. 

David Morgan

  • The Mongols
  • An excellent introduction to the Mongol Empire – providing an overview of the government, religion and politics of the Mongolian Empire. Much more readable than it sounds!

WB Bartlett

  • The Mongols
  • The history of the Mongol Empire summarised. Well written.

Expeditions to Mongolia

Mongolia has been attracting explorers and those with a wanderlust for centuries. As a country it was considered a remote destination  – the shorthand expression for the farthest a person could be from any place was to say that they’ve gone to ‘Outer Mongolia.’ Here are a few recommendations for written accounts about Mongolia before air travel, before trains, before Wi-Fi and before the country was essentially closed to foreigners by the communist government from 1921 –

Older Publications

Owen Lattimore 

  • Mongol Journeys

Charles Bawden

  • The Modern History of Mongolia

Henning Haslund 

  • Men and Gods In Mongolia
  • Tents In Mongolia
  • Mongolian Adventure

Ferdinand Ossendowski 

  • Beasts, Men and God
  • Ossendowski was a Polish writer, journalist, explorer and university professor. He found himself on the run from the Bolsheviks during the Revolution of the 1920s.


Don Croner

  • Travels In Northern Mongolia

John Man

  • Tracking The Gobi

Rob Liwall 

  •  Walking Home From Mongolia 
  • In 2012, Rob Lilwall and Leon McCarron walked over 5,000 km from the Gobi Desert down into China – following the Great Wall, trekking through the mountains of central China and finishing in Hong Kong.  

Rupert Isaacson

  • The Horse Boy
  • The true story of an expedition to northern Mongolia with the author taking his autistic son to meet the shamans – a remarkable journey.

Helen Thayer 

  • 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!

Lara Prior-Palmer

Louisa Waugh  

Tim Cope

  • On the Trails Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads (
  • Inspired by a desire to understand the nomadic way of life, Australian adventurer Tim Cope embarked on a remarkable journey: 6,000 miles on horseback across the Eurasian steppe from Mongolia, through Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine, to Hungary retracing the trail of Genghis Khan. 
  • Having had his horses stolen one night close to the start of his trip, the following day Cope spotted a herd of horses moving swiftly with a single horseman in charge. On approach, Cope recognised his two horses among the pack. I particularly like the next bit: 


‘These two horses came to me this morning,” the horseman said grinning. “You must have tied them badly.’ 


The horseman returned the horses without compensation, but insisted that Cope understand an important unwritten rule of the steppe: 


‘A man on the steppe with no friends is as narrow as a finger,” the horseman said. “A man with friends is as wide as the steppe.’ 


Stephen J Bodio 

  • Eagle Dreams: Searching for Legends in Wild Mongolia 
  •  A good option for if you’re considering visiting western Mongolia as it gives a good account of the life of the Kazakh eagle hunters as he spends time living among them and their birds, learning their traditions. 

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.’

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


 Conn Iggulden

  • The Conqueror Series 
  • Five books in the historical fiction series of this, charting Mongolian life and the rise of the Mongol Empire under Genghis, Ogodei and Kubilai Khan.

Jiang Rong

  • Wolf Totem
  • Winner of the Asian Man Booker Prize
  • Take yourself off to the wild steppes of Inner Mongolia during China’s Cultural Revolution in this part fiction/part biography.

James Aldridge

  • The Marvellous Mongolian
  • This is a children’s book but with delightful detail about Mongolian culture and the Przewalskii horses


Uuganaa Ramsay 

  • Mongol
  • Uuganaa is a Mongol living in Britain but she grew up as part of a nomadic herding family in Mongolia. This is a powerful memoir about when her new-born son Billy is diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome. It skillfully interweaves the extraordinary story of her own childhood in Mongolia with the sadly short life of Billy.  


  • 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


Are there any books about Mongolia you would suggest we add to the list? If  you enjoyed our suggested reading list on the books about Mongolia and want to explore more on Mongolia why not look at our our posts on Films About Mongolia – or Podcasts on Mongolia –

Jess @ Eternal Landscapes

Jessica Brooks
Jessica Brooks
I’m Jess Brooks. I am the founder of Eternal Landscapes Mongolia - a registered Mongolian business and social travel enterprise that focuses on providing travellers with a real 21st Century insight into Mongolia. I have been based in Mongolia since 2006 and together with my beloved Mongolian team, we focus on tourism that makes a positive difference. I'm also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society - awarded for my work in Mongolia and a published guidebook author - having worked together with World Adventure Guides to produce a digital interactive guide to Mongolia.
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