Not so The New Conquest of Central Asia. As it is the record of ten years of American Museum of Natural History expeditions, a huge book with many contributors, its usual price tag of around $650 is easy to understand, but hard to pay!
So when I found a not too battered ex- lib with a library binding and only three of its more than 200 plates missing, for $200, I grabbed it, I have never been happier with a book! Despite the rough condition a (tape on maps, stamps, and library binding), it is a battered, still- magnificent treasure trove of everything Mongolian, scientific and, yes, Colonial, in early Twentieth Century Asian history.
Our house name for it is The Big Book of Mongolia, and we keep it on the coffee table rather than the library, where we can dig into it randomly when we have a minute to spare, finding everything from buildings I have been in (Gandan Monastery) to landscapes we, like they, drove through, despite the absence of roads. One of our friends in Ulan bataar, Nyamdorj, always drovenhis Mercedes limo across the steppes, stopping for us to get out and push the car through what would be considered blue--ribbon trout streams in Montana. I must ask Jonathan Hanson if the first AMNH expedition is the first one that used cars extensively -- they even had camels plants stashes of gas ahead of them! And, of course, I've touched the fossils in the actual dinosaur's nest in Ulaan Bataar's museum, some of the first ones ever found.
The book's typical condition:
|Driving in he twenties; Wolf, Chapman's dog, riding high|