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Changing World of Mongolia's Nomads (Odyssey Illustrated Guides) Paperback – June 2, 1994

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About the Author

Melvyn C. Goldstein and Cynthia M. Beall are Professors of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University and the authors of Nomads of Western Tibet: The Survival of a Way of Life (California, 1990).
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Product Details

  • Series: Odyssey Illustrated Guides
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Odyssey Publications,Hong Kong (June 2, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9622173500
  • ISBN-13: 978-9622173507
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,978,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on March 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Melvyn Goldstein and Cynthia M. Beall's anthropological study of a Mongolian herding community, presents an intimate portrait of life on the steppes and the dramatic changes these people have undergone through the previous seventy years of Communism. In the introduction the authors provide a brief overview of Mongolian history from the conquests of the twelfth century khans to the development of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party under the Soviet System. While continually emphasizing the nomadic herding economy, Goldstein and Beall's book is really a close look at the lives of individuals and families and how they survive both this harsh climate and the changing political and economic scene.
Goldstein and Beall first layout a the problem of survival in the difficult environmental conditions on the steppes and the tenacity, illustrating the point with the tale of a herder found frozen to death as he crawled toward his home, less than a kilometer from safety. It is the livestock, contend the authors, that are the wealth and the security of these nomads. Herds are portable wealth on four legs of which no portion is wasted and each animal fulfills a specific function in the provision of basic needs: food, clothing, transportation. "Climate drives the annual cycle of the nomads life" and determines the survival of both herds and herder.
Goldstein and Beall stayed in the herding community of Moost in the Altai Mountains. Particularly detailed descriptions of traditional Mongolian hospitality--the exchange of snuff, the serving of milk-tea and "hospitality" foods--give a warm picture of an extremely outgoing and friendly people.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on March 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Melvyn Goldstein and Cynthia M. Beall's anthropological study of a Mongolian herding community, presents an intimate portrait of life on the steppes and the dramatic changes these people have undergone through the previous seventy years of Communism. In the introduction the authors provide a brief overview of Mongolian history from the conquests of the twelfth century khans to the development of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party under the Soviet System. While continually emphasizing the nomadic herding economy, Goldstein and Beall's book is really a close look at the lives of individuals and families and how they survive both this harsh climate and the changing political and economic scene.
Goldstein and Beall first layout a the problem of survival in the difficult environmental conditions on the steppes and the tenacity, illustrating the point with the tale of a herder found frozen to death as he crawled toward his home, less than a kilometer from safety. It is the livestock, contend the authors, that are the wealth and the security of these nomads. Herds are portable wealth on four legs of which no portion is wasted and each animal fulfills a specific function in the provision of basic needs: food, clothing, transportation. "Climate drives the annual cycle of the nomads life" and determines the survival of both herds and herder.
Goldstein and Beall stayed in the herding community of Moost in the Altai Mountains. Particularly detailed descriptions of traditional Mongolian hospitality--the exchange of snuff, the serving of milk-tea and "hospitality" foods--give a warm picture of an extremely outgoing and friendly people.
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Format: Paperback
Some books featuring photographs of faroff places fail to provide even a minimum of explanatory text. It's pix or nothing. Other, academic books, provide great masses of information without any pictures at all. Only a few, it seems to me, try to balance the two features. I must say that this one really hits the nail on the head. That's why I've given it five stars. It is a book full of beautiful photographs of Mongolia's stunning landscapes (and a remote part of the country at that) and the daily life of its nomadic population. But it also provides a very well-written and jargon-free study of why those nomads did not cheer the end of Communism and start of free-market capitalism wholeheartedly. The negdel, or herders' collective, may have been limiting in terms of freedom, but it offered a stable, fairly prosperous existence to people who had known the depths of privation not so long before. When Mongolia became a democracy in 1991, all the trappings of the old Communist system were to be scrapped. But as we know, political freedom does not guarantee economic stability. The nomads living 850 miles from the capital city rightly worried that their living standard might take a dive. It did. They did not take this lying down, however. The former collective leaders began to make deals around the country and with China as well in order to maintain the supply of goods that the nomads had come to expect as part of normal life. The narrative ends in 1993, so we don't know how things have turned out. There's plenty of standard anthropological information about nomad life, along with descriptions of the authors' experience. A very well-organized and presented book. OK, maybe it's short--maybe article length if you take out all the photos---and not academic enough for sticklers, but I found it most useful and interesting. There should be more like this.
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