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. Cope’s 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.
©2013 Tim Cope (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I discovered this book when I attended the traveling version of the Banff Film Festival, which is all about "outdoor" themed films and literature. This book won several awards, and it deserved them.
Tim Cope is a writer who takes this journey, not a dude who stumbles through the desert and then writes about it. The fact that he is a writer makes this book good. The fact that it is such a personal story makes it great.
This story is raw. Cope is super passionate about the nomads and the countries he visits. He really puts everything on the line for this experience.
I loved how he writes about the people he meets, his relationships with his animals, and his personal life. He also throws in a lot of historical facts about the regions he visits. The great thing is how they all work together. Some of the topics, like what the horses eat every day, could get dry, but he mixes it up with the other topics and it all just comes together so fluidly.
The narrator only gets three stars because he's way too dry. Cope's passion, and fears, and joys were sometimes lost in this reading. I think I would have enjoyed this story more if I'd read it instead of listening to it.
Book offers a lot and you sort of feel like having been there in person by its end. Places like Kazakhstan are blank spaces for me and following Tim's detailed itinerary with Google Maps I now have a permanent mental map and "experience" for this part of central Asia. It's more than a travelogue also a fair amount of history both recent and ancient. Also some anthropological aspects, love and death, a story of animals .. has a lot to offer and well worth it for anyone seeking a modern journey off the beaten track.
This is amazing
Tigon the dog, well described and Tigon amonst the many characters that Tim encounters is the one that most closely resembles Tims spirit.
The book evoked a wonderlust that I last felt when reading 'the long way round' that time I went out, bought a motorcycle and spent the next few years travelling. This time I am wiser so no horse. Inspirational, thanks Tim.
I thought this was an absolutely fantstic book. Tim Cope manages to intertwine his adventure with an ethnography of the people and history of the land in a seamless and engaging way.
I was also blown away by his bravery. He states at one point that he didn't consider his journey dangerous before he set out. Call me neurotic but the danger of the journey was one of the first things that struck me. He truly puts his life in the hands of the people he meets along the way and in doing so gains a deep insight into their lives and the lives of many nomads before him.
I also found the story to be a bit of a tear jerker at times. Cope's frank honesty about his emotions and experiences really helps you to see the journey as he saw it. He really takes you along for a ride.
First class. I highly recommend it.
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