SROM - v 1.1
in collaboration with
Kathy Petrie and
This list is by no means intended to be an exhaustive
bibliography. Rather, I have compiled it with the aim of
providing a fairly short, but comprehensive reading list.
Bibliographies in the works cited here should provide
most other references. Unfortunately, a lot of the more
interesting stuff now being done is coming out as
articles and/or chapters in books. Such references are
not cited here.
The bibliography is divided into sections, and the books
are arranged aphabetically by author within the sections.
Comments have been added to some of the books. Unless
otherwise noted, the comments are mine (Chris K's). [KP]
denotes comments provided by Kathie Petrie (who also
provided some of the references). [GS] denotes comments
provided by Guy Seay, who also provided references.
Thanks to both for their assistance.
Unless otherwise noted, most of these should be available
at larger libraries, (especially University ones) and can
probably be ordered, or sometimes found, at larger
* For this revision, Guy Seay has provided some more
information, including a video. My two new comments
(Nicolle and Severin) are basically stop- gap -- I've
thumbed through both books, but haven't had time to read
them fully. As the list expands (if it does) it may be
broken up into two: one more scholarly, and one with more
For a fuller bibliography
Comments, as well as recommendations for inclusion into
the list should be addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mongolia. Oxford, Clio Press, 1993.
(Judith Nordby is a Mongolist who heads up Mongolian
Studies at the University of Leeds.) For a good critique
of primary sources and early writings on the Mongols (as
well as his own account of the events), see:
- W. Barthold:
Turkestan down to the Mongol invasion.
London: Gibb Memorial Trust, 1977.
Mongol Imperialism: the Policies of the Grand Qan
Möngke in China, Russia and the Islamic Lands,
1251-1259. Berkeley: University of California Press,
1987. Based on his doctoral dissertation, Allsen
evaluates the reign of Khubilai's elder brother &
immediate predecessor, Möngke. The focus is on how
Möngke mobilized the resources of the enormous empire
in a coherent, sustainable way, while keeping the many
local khanates (like the Golden Horde) under his
personal control. [KP]
The perilous frontier. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987.
This book doesn't deal with exclusively with the Mongols,
but is worth a mention. Rather than dealing with just
individual groups (the Khitans, Mongols, etc.), he places
them in the larger context of cycles of power, and
repeated nomadic-sedentary interactions.
The modern history of Mongolia. Kegan Paul, London,
1989. A standard reference work for Mongolian history
from 1691 to the 1960s. It is usually the first place I
look when trying to track down information about this
time period. A must have if you're serious about
learning about Mongolian history of the period.
The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central
Asia. New Brunswick: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1991. A vast
book that covers the Central Asian steppe from
pre-historic times to the 17th century. Although somewhat
dated in aspects, still worth a look, especially since it
is the first book that springs to mind that deals with
the earlier periods.
Storm from the East: From Genghis Khan to Khubilai
Khan. Berkely, University of California Press, 1993.
Highly readable history of the Mongols rise and fall
during the 12th and 13th century. Many photographs taken
from the accompanying TV series as well as pictures of
artwork chronicling the Mongol khans and battles. [KP]
Morgan, David O.:
The Mongols. Oxford: Blackwell, 1986 A good general
introduction to Mongolian history. He deals mostly with
the Chinggisid conquests, and the Empire. Probably my
first recommendation for a non-specialist who wants to
know about Chinggis, Ogedei, Khubilai, etc. This one is
relatively easy to find. Also has a good bibliography.
The Mongol Warlords. Firebird Books, 1991. I've
only skimmed this one. Nice illustrations. It covers four
Mongol "warlords" -- Chinggis, Khubilai, Hulegu, and
Tamerlane. It was nice to see something on Hulegu.
Tamerlane was an interesting addition, although for the
record, he wasn't a direct descendant of Chinggis, as
the book suggests. Not bad as a general audience type of
book. ISBN: 1-85314-104-6
Genghis Khan. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991 Translated
from the German. An excellent introduction to Chinggis
Khan. Has some useful appendices. Also a good
bibliography, if you read German.
Khubilai Khan: his life and times. Berkeley: Univ.
of California Press, 1988. The only English book-length
treatment of Khubilai and his times. Well done, and
accessible. Is also useful for information on 'Phags-pa
Lama, and Buddhism in the Yu:an dynasty. Also has a
- Asia's first modern revolution. Leiden: Brill, 1989
Co-authored with Derrick Pritchatt. This account of the
1911 revolution works mainly from original source
material, much of which is quoted in the book.
Unfortunately, as far as I have been able to tell, it is
no longer in print -- or at least not to be had in the
- The Life and the History of Chinggis Khan. Leiden:
Brill, 1990. This is Onon's translation of the Secret
History, the only Mongolian source more or less
contemporary with Chinggis Khaan. This translation is
quite readable. Francis Cleaves has also done a
translation, but his use of a biblical style makes it
- Mongolian heroes of the twentieth century. New York:
AMS Press, 1967. I just found out a short while ago
that this is still in print. It's not a common book, but
worth mentioning here. It is a collection of
translations of major heroes of the socialist period.
Good for providing the official line on people like
Rossabi is a history professor at Columbia. This
biography is a bit more scholarly in tone than Storm
from the East but enjoyable reading. He covers the rise
of the Mongol empire in the early chapters. Khubilai is
presented as a man caught between two cultures, trying
to juggle two opposed power bases. [KP]
Mongols of the twentieth century. Bloomington:
Indiana University, 1964. Out of print. Has a lot of
detail, and good for the data. However, his analysis of
some of the material leaves something to be desired,
even given the time in which it was written. Volume Two
of this work is a bibliography. However, it is quite
dated by now, and many of the references are in Russian.
The history of the Mongol conquests. London:
Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1971. I'm afraid I don't
remember much about this one. It does have a section
discussing whether or not the Mongols used
firearms.Judith Norby gives it fairly good reviews.
Recently translated into Mongolian.
Turnball, S.R. and
Angus McBridge (illustrations):
The Mongols. London: Osprey Publishing, 1980. From
the Osprey 'Men-at-Arms' series. Believe it or not, it's
actually not bad. It's fairly short and written in easy
language. Obviously, only talks about military matters,
but does so fairly well. The author makes reference to
Juvaini, Rubruck, and even quotes the Secret History.
Lavishly illustrated -- has reproductions from medieval
manuscripts, as well as original illustrations.
Shamanism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964.
A general book on shamanism. There is much
information on Mongolian, and Inner Asian shamanism more
generally. Eliade sees North/Central Asian shamanism as
the _ur_ form. His approach is somewhat dated, but it's
a classic work. Shamanism was the main religious system
of the Mongols during Genghis Khan's era, and is
experiencing a resurgence in many areas after the
official atheism of communism has been thrown off.
Eliade is one of the recognized experts in the field.
Chapter Six deals particularly with shamanism in Central
& North Asia. [KP]
The religions of Mongolia. Berkeley: Univ. of
California Press, 1980. I don't think this is still in
print. A dense book, but a useful reference. About half
the book deals with "the Mongolian folk religion and its
pantheon". It also has a section on the Lamaist
repression of shamanism.
This is a list of some of the accounts written during
(pimarily) the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. There
are of course, many more from the nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. For a good review and critique of
some of them, see Barthold's Turkestan down to the
1980 Mission to Asia. Toronto: University of Toronto
Press. Exists in various editions, sometimes called "The
Mongol Missions". Includes the accounts of William of
Rubruck and John of Plano Carpini. Carpini travelled in
1245 at the behest of Pope Innocent IV, and Rubruck went
in 1253. Rubruck especially was an accute observer.
Probably a little hard to find. I've found "The
Contemporaries of Marco Polo", a similar collection, in
Huc, Evariste-Regis and Joseph Gabet:
Travels in Tartary, Thibet and China, 1844-1846. New
York:, New York, 1987. These French Catholic
missionaries traveled from China through South/Inner
Mongolia to Tibet and back to the China coast, dressed
as Buddhist lamas and accompanied by a Mongol convert,
Samdadchiemba. The introduction suggests that the
authors never let facts get in the way of a good story,
but there are plenty of good stories along the way. [KP]
Juvaini (Boyle, John A., trans.):
History of the world conqueror. Manchester: Univ. of
Manchester Press, 1958. Juavaini, one-time governor of
Baghdad is an important contemporary source. Juvaini is
something of an apologist for Mongol rule in Central
Asia. Nonetheless, important for being contemporary.
Juvaini also travelled extensively in Central Asia
during the reign of Mönkh Khaan. Barthold rates him as
much superior to Rashid ad-Din. A standard reference.
Out of print.
The travels. New York: Penguin Books, 1958. Various
editions of this classic work exist. Penguin's is
probably the most common. I have also seen, however, a
reprint of the Yule/Cordier edition put out by Dover.
That particular edition is considered by some to be the
definitive edition, because of the annotations provided.
Others prefer the translation by Moule and Pelliot. (Not
to be missed: Polo's accounts of unicorns.)
Rashid ad-Din (Boyle, John A. trans):
The successors of Genghis Khan. New York: Columbia
Univ. Press, 1971. Another Persian source, and
generally viewed as more important than Juvaini. Much of
his information is apparently based (second-hand) on a
now-lost Mongolian chronicle, the Altan Däwtär.
Unfortunately, the section of Rashid ad-Din's work that
deals with Chinggis has never been translated into
English. His complete writings do exist in Russian,
however. Out of print.
The Secret History - See Onon in the history section.
Altan Towq (Charles Bawden, trans.) Wiesbaden: Otto
Harrassowitz, 1955. A 17th century work, translated by
Charles Bawden. One of two Mongolian works with the same
title. The other has never been translated into English
(although last I heard, de Rachewiltz was working on a
trans.) For the section on Chinggis, it basically
recounts the Secret History. It takes the history of
the Mongols up to Lighdan Khan (d. 1636). It very
clearly displays the influence of Buddhism, especially
in the portrayal of Chinggis.
Karl Marx Collective: economy, society and religion
in a Siberian collective farm. Cambridge: Cambridge UP,
1983 Out of print, unfortunately. It deals with the
Buriat Mongols, rather than Mongolia or Inner Mongolia.
As far as I am aware, it is the only ethnography of a
collective farm in ethnic Mongolian territories. It
looks at (among other things) the interaction of
ethnicity and Soviet political economy, as well as ways
in which people deal with the Soviet system - use of
kinship for meeting work requirements, etc.
Jagchid, Sechen and Paul Hyer:
Mongolia's culture and society. Boulder: Westview
Press, 1979. As far as I can think of, the only attempt
at a comprehensive ethnography. The title is
self-explanatory. Written based on Inner Mongolia -- so
not necessarily accurate for contemporary Mongolia.
Also, tends to focus on 'traditional' culture and
society. But given all that, it has information you won't
find in too many other places -- taboos, etc.
Sex, death and hierarchy in a Chinese city. New
York: Columbia University Press, 1993. An ethnography of
Hohhot, the capital of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous
Region. Has some information on Mongolians -- his
account of Mongolian concepts of identity and ethnicity
This, as the section title suggests, is where I've put
things I'm not sure where else they would go.
Akiner, Shiren (ed.):
Mongolia Today. London: Kegan Paul, 1991.
Unfortunately, the title is outdated by the swift change
of events in Mongolia. Still, this collection of papers
contains some useful information. In addition to articles
on religion, the collection also addresses issues like
legal reform, restructuring, education & trade.Probably
not easy to find, however.
Enchantment of the World: Mongolia. Chicago:
Children's Press of Chicago. Recommended in the
Mongolia Society newsletter -- a school book on
Mongolia. $20.55, ISBN: 0-516-02605-4 ($2.05 for
shipping, $25.00 minimum for credit card orders-they
must do mostly business with libraries) order phone no.
Chingis Khan, New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1991 I
came across a really nice story book at a bookstore
recently about Chinggis Khan and is beautifully
illustrated. Though a children's book, the illustrations
really make the book. I don't know where you would order
it, but your local book store would know. $19.95, ISBN:
Hansen, Henny Harald:
Mongol Costumes. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1994.
An exhaustive inventory of Mongol clothing brought back
from expeditions made by Henning Haslund-Christensen of
Denmark in the late 1930s. The author, trained in
clothing design and tailoring, describes garment
construction and evolution. *Lots* of pictures and
pattern layouts. [KP]. $50.00, ISBN: 0-500-01585-6
Mongolia: politics, economics and society. London:
Frances Pinter, 1987. Although now dated by the
democratic changes, a handy reference guide to Mongolia
in the 1960s and 1970s. Also has some information on the
earlier parts of the twentieth century. It's a difficult
read, better for consulting. On the political structure
and who was who, Sanders is probably the best.
In search of Genghis Khan. New York: Atheneum, 1992.
Still haven't read all of this one, either. Basically,
Severin's expedition by horse across Mongolia in the
early 1990s. Fairly well done, and a good "atmosphere"
piece. (More comments when I fully read it.) ISBN:
Worden, Robert L. and Andrea Matles Savada,
ed.: Mongolia: A Country Study. Washington, D.C.: US
Department of the Army, Washington, D.C., 1991. This is
a general overview of the modern Republic of Mongolia.
Written at the moment when the Peoples' Republic of
Mongolia was emerging from communism, it includes a brief
history of the Mongols, as well as demographic, economic
and cultural information about the country today. A
little out of date, but a good way to get a quick
"snapshot" of recent history. [KP].
Gronbech, Kaare and John Krueger:
An introduction to classical (literary) Mongolia.
Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1976. An introduction to
script Mongolian. The texts in the first part of the
book are romanized. Later, bichig is also used. It's
well done, and can allegedly be used to teach yourself.
Basic course in Mongolian. Bloomington: Indiana
Univ. Press, 1987 I think this is the only introductory
course to contemporary Mongolian that is still
available. It can be had with tapes to accompany it.
Unfortunately, it contains a lot of 'Inner
Mongolianisms'. My first (Khalkha) Mongolian language
teacher gave up trying to use this because he spent so
much time correcting what he thought were inaccuracies.
It can be had from the Mongolia Society.
Poppe, Nicholas: A grammar of written Mongolian. Wiesbaden: Otto
Harrassowitz, 1974. The standard reference book for
script Mongolian. It tends to be a bit confusing if you
don't have a linguistic background as the terminology is
somewhat dense. Nonetheless, a useful book.
Another something I came across on PBS is: The title is
"Great Railway Journeys: Hong Kong to Ulaanbaatar" The
following is the summary from the back of the tape:
"With influenza and a Chinese phrase book, Clive Anderson
makes a somewhat apologetic start of his journey, but he
is quickly into his stride, cracking English jokes to
bemused fellow travelers. Crossing China, Clive is
surprised to find it just as commercially minded as Hong
Kong. At Mao's birthplace he talks to a former Red Guard
and creates a stir in Shanghai's People's Park, where
Chinese locals serenade him with hits from The Sound of
Music. Later, Clive joins the Trans-Siberian Express,
where he encounters the Queen's Messengers carrying their
diplomatic bags to Ulaanbaatar. Here in Mongolia, as a
matter of economic policy, nomadic tribesmen are being
encouraged to play the stock market!"
Clive Anderson is very positive on the Mongols which was
nice to see-some beautiful (or maybe just nostalgic)
shots of Ulaanbaatar. [GS]
19 Gregory Drive
South Burlington, VT 05403
Item No. WX204, Hong Kong to Ulaanbaatar
$19.95, $4.50 shipping (57 minutes long)