A random quote from an awesome book

Memorial for Yelü Yanning in Khitan large script. Dated 986.

Memorial for Yelü Yanning in Khitan large script. Dated 986.

From From President To Prison from Ferdinand Ossendowski an idiosyncratic retelling of 10th- to 12th-century Northeast Asian history (the guy is just like a proper historian!):

In the course of my business, I made the acquaintance of the richest merchant of the town and heard from him some interesting law regarding these Kara-Khorch’ins. He told me that this tribe had often swept down toward the Great Wall,

Continue Reading

Man And Mystery in Asia – Ferdinand Ossendowski  

I was lucky this weekend to get a chance to read a book which has been lying on my desk for a few months now (next to

Man And Mystery In Asia

Man And Mystery In Asia

the ever-growing pile of the latest research in my field…): Man And Mystery in Asia by Ferdinand Ossendowski, the Polish noble/ chemist/ biologist/ geologist/ explorer/ fugitive from the Cheka and the Bolsheviks/ bestseller author/ hunter/ storyteller extraordinaire. I’m sure I’m leaving a number of defining qualifications out of this description, but the fact that he saw the inside of a prison both under the Tsar and under the Bolsheviks on account of ideological crimes tells you something about the man. That he was a fundamentally decent and courageous person. Or incredibly stupid and unfortunate to fall foul of two such formidable enemies,

Continue Reading

Beasts, Men And Gods – Ferdinand Ossendowski

wpid-wp-1400084881377.jpegBeasts,  Men And Gods. I’d like to write a book with a title like that.  A take-it-or-leave-it title. An I-don’t-give-a-flying-fuck-what-you-think title. Written by a Polish chemist on the run  for the Bolsheviks during the Red-White civil war in Siberia and Mongolia. Ferdinand Ossendowski was a Polish noble in trouble with the secret police of the Russian Czar. Then he got into even worse troubles with the not-so-secret police of the Bolsheviks.  He fled to Siberia, then Mongolia and finally Manchuria, in the course of which he matter-of-factly spent a Siberian winter by himself in a forest in a self-made shelter. Consorted with a confessed murderer and torturer. 

Continue Reading

No more posts.