Michael Kohn, former editor of the Mongol Messenger newspaper, is one steppe ahead of the journalistic posse in this epic Western set in the Far East. Kohn’s memoir of his time in Mongolia is an irresistible account of a nation where falcon poachers, cattle rustlers, exiled Buddhist leaders, death-defying child jockeys and political assassins vie for page one. A turf war between lamas, shamans, Mormon elders and ministers provides the spiritual backdrop in this nation which had only just been liberated from Soviet rule. From the reincarnated Bogd Khaan and his press spokesman to vodka-fuelled racing entrepreneurs and political leaders unclear on the concept of freedom of the press, Kohn explores one of Asia’s most fascinating, mysterious and misunderstood lands.
“Genghis Khan may have stormed across the steppes seven centuries ago but Michael Kohn has probably covered nearly as many miles around one of the world’s most remote and untamed nations. That he’s managed to explore Mongolia from Ulaanbaatar to the Gobi Desert and from frozen winters to baking summers on a salary of just 30,000 tögrögs a month (that’s 40 dollars if your calculator isn’t to hand) as editor of The Mongol Messenger makes his tale of strange places and even stranger people all the more remarkable.” — Tony Wheeler, founder, Lonely Planet guidebooks
“Michael Kohn simultaneously informs and delights the reader in his adventurous romp across the frozen steppes of the planet’s most isolated and mysterious country. He writes with the fast-paced timing of a reporter who senses the global impact of minute issues; yet at the same time, he paints vivid pictures of the Mongolian landscape and people with the skill of a portrait painter. He offers a picture filled with information, where even the most bizarre characters are treated with dignity without avoiding the irony in their lives.”— Jack Weatherford, author of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
“Here is a vivid account of post-Communist Mongolia that reveals much about the traditional culture while at the same time describing the challenges and problems that the country has faced since 1990. The author, a journalist who lived for three years in Mongolia and served as an editor of an English-language newspaper, travelled throughout the country and was a keen observer of tradition and innovations. His anecdotal style offers the reader a unique perspective on a little-known society.” — Morris Rossabi, author of Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times