Cover image for Gobi : tracking the desert
Gobi : tracking the desert
Man, John.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, 1999.

Physical Description:
xii, 212 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), map ; 25 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library DS793.G6 M36 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In intelligent, jargon-free prose, the author takes readers on a colorful tour of the Gobi Desert, from its natural wonders to its conflicts with society. Illustrations.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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 imaginationÄall flat immensities and deathly extremesÄgives 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

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 desertÄlike 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.ÄStephanie Papa, Baltimore Cty. Circuit Court Law Lib., MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. xi
1 Into the Voidp. 1
2 A Camel, a Bear and a Baby Gazellep. 21
3 The Domain of the Snow Leopardp. 37
4 A Sacred Mountainp. 56
5 The Return of the Nativep. 70
6 The Three Beautiesp. 95
7 The Flaming Cliffsp. 124
8 Cretaceous Parkp. 150
9 Night on a Bare Mountainp. 171
10 Bridging the Inland Seap. 188
Bibliographyp. 207
Indexp. 209

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