In the Footsteps of Genghis Khan
As a twenty-three-year-old student in mid-1930s, pre-World War II China, John DeFrancis did not set out to make a thousand-mile camel trek across the Gobi Desert, become the prisoner of a Muslim warlord, or travel twelve hundred miles down the bandit-infested Yellow River on an inflated sheepskin raft. But these were just some of the adventures experienced by the author and his traveling companion when they tried to retrace the footsteps of Genghis Khan and ended up dodging the fighting between the Communists nearing the end of their Long March and a coalition of forces under Chiang Kai-shek's Central Government and a cabal of Muslim warlords.
Informed by an extensive knowledge of Chinese history and punctuated with keen observation and gentle humor, the narrative is a personal history that can be read both as a tale of high adventure in the wild west of China and as prelude to the present in that tortured land.
Westerners can no longer trace the footsteps of Genghis Khan. Many areas of China that challenged the adventuresome were declared off-limits more than a half-century ago - and the Gobi Desert and sensitive border regions are still inaccessible.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - SeriousGrace - LibraryThing
When I first cracked open In the Footsteps of Genghis Khan I thought DeFrancis was thumbing his nose at his readers. The first chapter of In the Footsteps of Genghis Khan is called "You can't Do That ... Read full review
able actually asked Baotou Black River brothers called camel drivers camel puller camels camp caravan China Chinese Communists Dahlsten desert distance Dorji Dungan east encountered Etsina farther feet foreigners Fu Zuoyi Gansu Corridor gate Genghis Khan Georg gobi Gonzell Guihua head horse hundred miles Inner Mongolia Jing Ke lamas land Lanzhou Larks live load look Manager Guo Manchu Maomu Marco Polo Martin military missionaries Mongols mountains Muslim nearby nese nose-cord opium ourselves Outer Mongolia passed Peachy Peking prince province raft ride route ruins sand seemed Sheng Shicai side Silk Road soldiers stopped stretch Suzhou Tangut Temple tent terrain things thousand Tibetan tion told took Torgny Torguts town trading posts trip truck turned walking Wall warlord wind Xiao Xinjiang Yellow River yurt Zhou