Mongolia Must-Reads: The Essential Books About Mongolia
Few things open your eyes quite like a good book. The very best books take us somewhere without ever leaving the comfortable confines of our favorite chair. They entertain but also educate and enlighten by sharing insight into an unfamiliar place or person. We happen to think one of the best ways to prepare for a trip is to dive into a stack of books. Brush up on the history, learn about the wildlife, or simply relish a story about the people that make the place so memorable. Whether it’s history or hawks, people, or places that fascinate you, we have the perfect books about Mongolia for you.
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
How well do you really know the story of Genghis Khan? It’s impossible to fully understand Mongolia and its people without a complete understanding of Genghis Khan. He is often associated with a bloodthirsty quest to rule the world, but this insightful book shares more about the lesser-known history of this visionary leader. Written by Jack Weatherford, an esteemed professor, and historian, if you have time for just one book before your trip to Mongolia, make this the one. Weatherford, who splits his time between Charleston, SC, and a home in Mongolia, has also been a frequent guest at Three Camel Lodge and shared his memories and experiences with us in this Q&A.
On the Trail of Ancient Man by Roy Chapman Andrews
Roy Chapman Andrews is largely considered to be the inspiration for the character of Indiana Jones, and this is his narrative of the fieldwork of his expeditions across Central Asia. It’s a fascinating look at the history of the region from a man who coined the name for the Flaming Cliffs and discovered the world’s first dinosaur eggs.
Wildlife and Nature
Into Wild Mongolia by George Schaller
George Schaller is a distinguished field biologist who first visited Mongolia in the late 1980s before the country was opened to Western visitors. This is his account of subsequent visits to Mongolia to study and spearhead conservation efforts for some of the region’s most fascinating species, including snow leopards, Bactrian camels, and the Gobi bear. His first-person accounts of the way things were and how they have changed through the decades are a must for anyone interested in the history and wildlife of Mongolia.
Hunting with Eagles: In the Realm of Mongolian Kazakhs by Palani Mohan
Prepare to have your breath taken away by Palani Mohan’s stunning and moving photographic accounts of the Kazakh eagle hunters. This book quite literally opens your eyes to this ancient way of life in the remote and rugged mountains of western Mongolia.
Birds of Mongolia by Gombobaatar Sundev and Christopher Leahy
Mongolia, with its diverse landscapes and ecosystems, is a bird watcher’s paradise. This field guide, written by Mongolia’s most famous ornithologist (together with Christopher Leahy), provides in-depth details about 502 species of birds. Detailed maps not found elsewhere make this the authoritative guide to birding in Mongolia.
The Birds of Heaven by Peter Matthiesen
The renowned naturalist and author Peter Matthiesen lures readers with this beautiful tribute to cranes, chronicling his travels around the world, including Mongolia, in search of these special creatures. Worldwide, there are 15 species of cranes, and Mongolia is home to 6 of the species.
The Green Eyed Lama by Oyungerel Tsedevdamba and Jeffrey Falt
This novel has been a bestseller in Mongolia for a decade. Set in Communist-era Mongolia, this book weaves together a love story, the decisive blow Stalin delivered to Buddhism, and an unlikely ally—a monk-turned-KGB officer. Fascinating and electrifying, it would seem improbable if it were not based on a true story.
Hearing Birds Fly by Louisa Waugh
Wondering what life is really like in a remote village in Mongolia? Louisa Waugh’s soul-stirring account of her time spent living among the villagers shares a unique perspective on traditions and customs.
Walking the Gobi by Helen Thayer
This is a book for anyone who thinks that life has no second acts. This page-turner shares the inspiring story of an aging couple who took on the challenge of a lifetime—to cross the Gobi desert. Peppered with beautiful stories of the kindness of strangers, this story is really about the resilience of the human spirit.
The Blue Sky by Galsan Tschinag
Tschinag writes a beautiful and heart-wrenching account of the struggles of daily life among the Tuvan in the Altai Mountains of western Mongolia. You’ll marvel at these ancient people’s ingenuity, resilience, and respect for tradition, all shared from the perspective of an insider.
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