More About the Author
Michael Kohn, a freelance journalist and travel writer, is a specialist on Mongolian culture and society. He has written two books and has published many articles on that country. From 1998 to 2000 he served as the resident foreign editor for the Mongol Messenger, a weekly newspaper in Mongolia. Working as editorial director, photographer, writer, layout artist, and advertising manager, Michael kept the paper alive on a shoestring budget. He simultaneously served as a correspondent for international news outlets, including BBC radio, the Associated Press and the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong). In May 1998 he wrote the AP preview article for Madeleine Albright's visit to Mongolia. In the autumn of that year he chronicled the political crisis in Mongolia with a series of articles for the AP. In August 1999 his stories broke the secret visit to Mongolia by the Bogd Lama, a high lama from India banned in Mongolia.
In the course of these assignments, Michael has interviewed several Mongolian prime ministers and presidents. He has interviewed model Heidi Klum, mountain climber Conrad Anker and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Michael also worked with local media outlets in Ulaanbaatar - volunteering his time at the radio station, TV station and School of Journalism. He appeared in a Mongolian film and hosted a weekly talk radio show. In 1999, a story he wrote on poverty attracted the attention of the British embassy, which donated a stove to the family he interviewed. A visiting CNN news crew filmed the handover ceremony.
When not working, he became acquainted with life on the ground by hitchhiking to the most remote corners of Mongolia, spending weeks at a time with nomadic herders. He has traveled to every Mongolian province, trekked alongside Kazakh eagle hunters, run a marathon on the shores of lake Khovsgol and cycled across Mongolia's northern borderlands.
Michael has visited nearly 70 countries, many of them as a researcher for Lonely Planet. The list of guides he has authored or co-authored include China, Russia, Mongolia, Tibet, Central Asia, Israel & The Palestinian Territories, South Africa, Armenia and the Trans-Siberia Railway. Along the way he has reported on conflicts in Kashmir, Afghanistan and Nepal.
Michael received Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Gail and daughter Molly.