On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Sep 24, 2013 - Travel - 528 pages
Grand Prize Winner, Banff Mountain Festival Book Competition

The relationship between man and horse on the Eurasian steppe gave rise to a succession of rich nomadic cultures. Among them were the Mongols of the thirteenth century – a small tribe, which, under the charismatic leadership of Genghis Khan, created the largest contiguous land empire in history. Inspired by the extraordinary life nomads lead, Tim Cope embarked on a journey that hadn't been successfully completed since those times: to travel on horseback across the entire length of the Eurasian steppe, from Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia, through Kazakhstan, Russia, Crimea and the Ukraine to the Danube River in Hungary.

From horse-riding novice to spending months in the saddle, he learnt to fend off wolves and would-be horse-thieves, and grapple with the haunting extremes of the steppe as he crossed sub-zero plateaux, the scorching deserts of Kazakhstan and the high-mountain passes of the Carpathians. As he travelled he formed a close bond with his horses and especially his dog Tigon, and encountered essential hospitality – the linchpin of human survival on the steppe – from those he met along the way.

Cope bears witness to how the traditional ways hang in the balance in the post-Soviet world – an era that has brought new-found freedom, but also the perils of corruption and alcoholism, and left a world bereft of both the Communist system upon which it once relied, and the traditional knowledge of the nomadic forefathers.

A journey of adventure, endurance and eventual triumph, On the Trail of Genghis Khan is at once a celebration of and an elegy for an ancient way of life.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Teufle - LibraryThing

A wonderful read. While the story teller often seemed to hid or mask his true thoughts and motives from the reader it was never the less a fact filled adventure that had me learning of, and longing for such an adventure, and such a past and place as he paints in this book. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

This book is many things. The document of an unquenchable wanderlust. An exercise in ethnography. A bearing of witness to a fading way of life. Mostly though, it's really about the author dealing with ... Read full review


Mongolian Dreaming
The Last Nomad Nation
Wolf Totem
A Fine Line to the West
The Roaring River Mountain
Stalins Shambala
Lost Hordes in Europe
Cossack Borderlands
The Timashevsk Mafia
Where Two Worlds Meet
The Return of the Crimean Tatars

Tokym Kagu Bastan
Wife Stealing and Other Legends of Tasaral
The Starving Steppe
The Place That God Forgot
Ships of the Desert
The Oil Road
Taking the Reins
Among the Hutsuls
The End of the World
List of Maps
Selected Bibliography
A Note on the Author

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About the author (2013)

Tim Cope is a professional adventurer, author, filmmaker, and motivational speaker. He has worked as a guide in Antarctica, studied as a wilderness guide in the Finnish and Russian Arctic, ridden a bicycle across Russia to China, and rowed a boat through Siberia to the Arctic Ocean. His book Off the Rails: Moscow to Beijing on Recumbent Bikes was published by Penguin Australia; he created a documentary of the same name for ABC Australia, as well as a six-part series “The Trail of Genghis Khan,” covering the journey of this book. He lives in Victoria, Australia.


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