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On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads Hardcover – September 17, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (September 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608190722
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608190720
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.7 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

An adventurer who has sailed down Siberia’s Yenesei River, among other quests, Cope mounted a horse in Mongolia in 2004 and set out for the opposite end of the Eurasian steppe, Hungary. This was the vast sphere conquered by the Mongol Empire in the 1200s, the historical memory of which accompanied Cope as surely as did his contemporary education in nomadic living. Embarking without much prior experience in things equestrian but gifted with foreign-language skills, Cope proceeded across exceedingly challenging if not downright dangerous landscapes of deserts, mountains, and plains. At many points, Cope’s journey seemed sure to be thwarted by wolves, thieves, or bureaucrats, but three years later, Cope, his steeds, and his dog, Tigon, arrived triumphantly in Hungary. Within this theme of difficulties met and mastered, the people Cope met on the way become vividly characterized as jocular or menacing, helpful or hindering in the narrative’s large stock of intercultural encounters. (Cope is Australian.) Weaving acute observation, honest introspection, and a sense of history, Cope crafts a marvelously perceptive travelogue of an audacious odyssey. --Gilbert Taylor

Review

National Geographic Traveler Best Fall Travel Books

There are plenty of fine books written by people who go off on adventures and return to set their story to paper, but Tim Cope's adventure, recalled in On the Trail of Genghis Khan, puts almost all of them to shame. His was a 6,000-mile journey on horseback from Mongolia to Hungary that lasted over three years. The book, like the adventure, is massive at over 500 pages, filled to the brim with near-death experiences, the kindness of strangers, and greenhorn comedy... But what's most impressive is the immensity of Cope's spirit and the insatiability of his wanderlust. We forget that we could do these types of things ourselves, technically, if only we didn't have so many excuses. After all, Cope had no particular training or skills that suited him for his journey, besides his indomitable will. The anecdotes he relates are amazing, but it's Cope himself that provides the most inspiration. It's a shame that the word 'epic' has been so degraded by over-use, because it must be employed here. (The Daily Beast)

Weaving acute observations, honest introspection, and a sense of history, Cope crafts a marvelously perceptive travelogue of an audicous odyssey. (Booklist)

[A] sensitive account both personal and historical...[Cope] refuses his ambitious account with the stories of the people and tales of the animals who inspired the journey, rendering the book heartfelt and memorable. An exciting, detailed account of man versus adversity. (Kirkus)

Tim Cope's exploration across the continents on horseback grew into a quest through history and then on odyssey deep into the human heart. In exploring some of the most remote places on earth, he brings us back to ourselves and to a better understanding of our place in the world today. (Jack Weatherfod, author of GENGHIS KHAN AND THE MAKING OF MODERN WORLD)

In some ways the most reassuring thing about On the Trail of Genghis Khan is that, in a world full of people and connections and easy means of gratification, someone with enough courage and curiousity can still find a place to get lost. And, in doing so, can still come to understand life on totally foreign terms. That Cope writes beautifully about the experience makes this book one to treasure and remember. (Nick Reding, author of THE LAST COWBOYS AT THE END OF THE WORLD and METHLAND)

An epic tale of an epic journey, told with beauty and sensitivity. For anyone who loves adventure and traveling off the beaten track, this is a must read. (Tim Macartney-Snape, mountaineer, first Australian to summit Mount Everest.)

Tim Cope's epic journey is a reminder to us all that life should be lived to the fullest. Cope is a man who appreciates the simple things in life but still manages to conquer the seemingly impossible through sheer will power and the unbreakable spirit, on a quest to recreate history. His path is one we'd all love to follow. (Steve Waugh, Australian cricket legend.)

This is a staggering travel adventure, beautifully recounted, by an amazing man. (Peter FitzSimons, sports journalistm, commentator, and biographer.)

Customer Reviews

This is very well written.
Neil D. Brown
It was full of adventure, courage, determination and emotion and I am full of admiration for Tim Cope who completed this amazing journey.
Julie Oliver
Definitely recommended as a five star book to be read by every armchair adventurer.
Michael J. Muller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Farsang on October 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tim Cope succeeds admirably with this travelogue. On the surface, this book is a straightforward story about the completely un-straightforward process of riding the width of the Eurasian Steppe on horseback (Mongolia to Hungary!). The cast of characters and adventures Tim stumbles across on the Steppe are as variable as the drastic swings in weather he encounters over his three year journey. The peoples and places are put into a rich historical context throughout the book that is fascinating and inspiring. I was surprised by the magnitude and extent of the Steppe's sorrows and triumphs. I look forward to digging deeper into these histories now that my curiosity has been piqued. On a deeper level, this is a very personal book about finding ones place among people and society. Everyone must address these questions about themselves at some point in their lives. Unlike the rest of us, Tim acts on his wilder yearnings. In the end, he is both punished and rewarded for his risks in ways that affected me deeply. Overall, a very enjoyable and thought (or dare I say action?) provoking book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Loves the View VINE VOICE on November 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Over the last 5 days, I've just spent much of my free time tagging along with Tim Cope as he traveled by horse from Ulaanbaatar to Hungary. We rode in freezing and sweltering temperatures, slept yurts, mining camps, under the moon, hiding from the sun, on farms, offices and in the homes of kindly people. We learned horsemanship by doing, avoided bandits, nearly died of thirst (our horses too) and stared down bureaucrats. We met nomads, miners, poachers, oilmen, café owners, black market suppliers and people of little known of tribes and cultures. We drank a lot of vodka and had a romance. Like the author, I hated to see this trip end.

Tim Cope, began as no stranger to wilderness travel. He had bicycled across Russia and rowed a boat 2500 miles from Lake Baikal to the Arctic Circle. This trip was designed to cross the terrain covered by Genghis Khan's army from its Mongolian home to its farthest destination.

Cope is informative on how history has shaped the life the people met along the way, sometimes going back hundreds of years. For instance, the Klamak people, now working to preserve their culture as well as the over-hunted saiga, may have descended from members of Khan's army stranded in Russia. In Kazakhstan more recent history has resulted in a formerly migratory people living on the shells of the collective farms with broken and rusted machinery scattered all about. Kazakhs are still coping with Stalin's collectivization which was accompanied by an influx of Russians making the Kazakhs a minority in their own country. The nomadic way of life was shattered; the Kazakh language was banned. The Tatars, expelled from the Crimea by Stalin, have only been allowed to return since the 1980's and are attempting to rebuild their lives and culture.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sandra on November 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I started reading about Genghis Khan when I was young. I still remember the first line of the first chapter of Harold Lamb’s Genghis Khan: “Life did not matter very much in the Gobi.” That line was so evocative and I knew somehow, on a deep soul level, it was very true. I have re-read that book every five or six years since I first came across it in the 70s. I have a soft spot in my heart for Genghis Khan, or Temujin as I called him, although I rarely spoke about it. I knew it wouldn’t really go over well with all my new age, spiritually inclined friends. I read Jack Weatherford’s books, watched documentaries on the Gobi, and often searched out new books on his life and the world of Mongolia. In the past few years when I read excerpts of Tim Cope’s book, articles here and there, I knew he’d had the same urgings I had. What was it really like moving across the world, conquering everything they came in contact with, how did he manage the huge army, the logistics of the entire effort, and of course I always wanted to know, what was Temujin really like.

Tim Copes took me on that journey from Ulaanbaatar to the Danube. As is my habit, I read each night before going to sleep. I rode with Tim over the windswept Gobi, enjoyed his descriptions of places I’ll never go, re-learning the history of Temujin’s conquests, and made it up the mountain passes with those great horses into names of towns I can’t pronounce and pulled blankets around me as he froze on Altai mountains. I suffered with him when he had to leave his devoted dog, Tigon (what a spirit that dog had!) and was grateful that he was able to get him back to Australia.

I am so grateful for his journey and for sharing it. I loved the book and look forward to any book he writes in the future.

Sandra Martin
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Vagabond on October 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fantastic, awe-inspring book that took me to places I have never been to before on so many levels. There were times when I just could not put this book down because I just had to know that happened next. Tim Cope wrote this book with such a wonderful mix of emotion, sensitivity and fact and I found myself riding the highs and lows with him all the way through. What an amazing accomplishment and despite many of the hardships that Tim encountered, his own and those of others, he never lost sight of his and their humanity and this comes shining through chapter after chapter. It is one of those stories that leaves you feeling completely bereft and lost once you finish the book and it will take a while before I will get into another book - you almost need a while to absorb and digest.
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On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads
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