Gobi: Tracking the Desert by John Man, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Gobi: Tracking the Desert

Gobi: Tracking the Desert

5.0 1
by John Man
     
 
In this book, MacMullen investigates the transition from paganism to Christianity between the fourth and eighth centuries. He reassesses the triumph of Christianity, contending that it was neither tidy nor quick, and he shows that the two religious systems were both vital during an interactive period that lasted far longer than historians have previously

Overview

In this book, MacMullen investigates the transition from paganism to Christianity between the fourth and eighth centuries. He reassesses the triumph of Christianity, contending that it was neither tidy nor quick, and he shows that the two religious systems were both vital during an interactive period that lasted far longer than historians have previously believed.

Editorial Reviews

Gregory McNamee
Readers with a taste for adventure will envy Man for his good fortune in having been able to wander Mongolia freely, and with exceedingly interesting adventures. . . . Man offers an engaging picture of Mongolia's people, who, having survived a long history of totalitarianism, are now seeking better lives for themselves. . . . Whether they choose to follow in his footsteps or not, readers will be grateful to John Man for having undertaken his adventure-and for having written this moving story.
Tucson Weekly
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
British reporter Man has been obsessed with Mongolia's Gobi Desert since his boyhood, when he read of the exploits of American explorer/scientist Roy Chapman Andrews, who in 1922-1924 made one of the century's great paleontological finds by discovering dinosaur eggs and fossils at Flaming Cliffs (aka Bayan Zag). In an exhilarating blend of travel, history and adventure, the Gobi of Man's imagination--all flat immensities and deathly extremes--gives way to a realm of austere beauty, with majestic snow-capped pinnacles, emerald oases, an exquisite interplay of reds, purples and ochres and a diversity of snow leopards, wolves, lightning-fast gazelles and endangered bears and horses. Highlights of his itinerary include Sacred Mother, a mountain revered by Buddhists, where he feels a sense of timelessness; the Great Gobi National Park, almost half the size of England; and the Singing Sands, an immense ridge of high dunes that vibrates and hums in the wind. A graceful and companionable travel writer, Man finds much to admire in the Mongolian people, including their intact tradition of mutual support, closeness to nature and rugged endurance in the face of enormous distances, sporadic roads, lack of water and erratic power supplies. Since Andrews's pioneering discoveries, reports Man, American, Polish, Russian and Mongol expeditions have yielded valuable clues to the evolution of early mammals, the extinction of dinosaurs and human origins. And the Gobi holds another surprise: a vast water table beneath its harsh surface, which now feeds thousands of wells and dozens of irrigation projects, could make the desert bloom. But the Mongolians may not be ready for such a transformation, surmises Man, as it would change their way of life and ecology. His book vividly captures both as they are, however, and it is enchanting. 12 b&w and seven color photos. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Man has written a travelog detailing his summer journey through the Gobi desert. The reader is captivated from the first page as he and his companions set out by car to explore this unfamiliar area of Mongolia. Describing in great detail the national parks he visits and the animals who live there (such as the snow leopard and the gazelle), he relates stories of other explorers and of the nomadic people whom he befriends along the way. He concludes with an examination of future challenges to the desert--like building a railway. The mixture of Chinese myth and history lessons with real-life adventures makes this a fascinating and informative book that is hard to put down. Recommended for larger libraries.--Stephanie Papa, Baltimore Cty. Circuit Court Law Lib., MD Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A spare, polished profile of the Gobi, Mongolia's southern sweep of desert, long closed to most non-Mongolians, from journalist Man. In this welcome account of the high eastern-Asian vastness, Man spans the breadth of the desert from the remote southwest, where snow leopards ghost through the Altai Mountains, to the rocky archipelagos of the east, where roads are only a suggestion: "Turn left at the dead camel." Wildlife crowds Man's imagination, if not exactly the sere landscape, as he pursues vestigial populations of the near-mythic wild bactrian camels, the wild horses that made the Mongolian cavalry such a military presence in 13th-century Asia, the desert bear (whose numbers have been reduced to about 30), the returning wolf, and the wonder-working snow leopard, brought low between a rock (the value of the leopards' pelts) and a hard place (their timeless, prosaic conflict with sheepherders). Prehistoric wildlife also commands much of Man's attention, as Mongolia is one of the world's great fossil sites, and Roy Chapman Andrews, who discovered dinosaur eggs at the country's Flaming Cliffs in the 1920's, one of Man's heroes. Man's writing has the unadorned lines of Shaker furniture, only occasionally extravagant, as when overwhelmed by the Gobi's ecclesiastical light, the purpling shadowplay, the rainbows that serve as living proof it is raining up there in the sky though it is so hot the drops evaporate before touching earth. He does justice, without becoming predictable, to the variety a traveler experiences in Mongolia: There is still such a thing as twilight, that faint aurora in the night's western sky long banished from any locale where darkness has been sullied, andthere is also the bane of modern economic dislocation in the wake of the Soviet Union's dismemberment. A dangerous book. It makes the Gobi—the land and those that move upon it—so seductive that readers may forget it is a place that treats the incautious without mercy. (7 color and 12 b&w photos)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300076097
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
10/28/1999
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.00(d)

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