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On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomadsby Tim Cope
Synopses & Reviews
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 hadnt 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.
The unforgettable story of one man's journey across the vast Eurasian steppe
Guided by a Kazakh aphorism—“To understand the wolf, you must put the skin of a wolf on and look through its eyes”—adventurer Tim Cope undertook a journey not successfully completed since the days of Genghis Khan: he traveled by horseback across the entire length of the Eurasian steppe, from the ancient capital of Mongolia to the Danube River in Hungary. It was an incredible six-thousand-mile, three-year-long trip across formidable landscape—and into the heart of the nomadic way of life that dominated this region for thousands of years, transforming Western Europe through its conquering armies.
Copes trek takes him through wolf-infested plateaus, over glaciers and the subzero “starving steppe,” the scorching Kazakh desert, and the deep forests and treacherous mountains of the Carpathians. Alone except for a trusty dog (and a succession of thirteen horses, many stolen from him along the way), he encounters incredible hospitality from those who welcome him along the way, a tradition that is the linchpin of human survival on the steppe. Immersed in the land and its people, Cope is witness to the rich past and often painful complexities of the present still recovering from Soviet rule. On the Trail of Genghis Khan is a celebration and an elegy for the nomadic way of life—its freedom, its closeness to the land, its animals, and moods—and a narrative full of romance, intelligence, and drama.
About the Author
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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