Nomads and Commissars: Mongolia Revisited

By Owen Lattimore | Go to book overview

5
A Revolution of Shepherds

IN 1961, to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Mongolian People's Republic, the Mongols published an extraordinary book. It contains the personal stories of 203 men who in 1921 joined the Partisans of Sukebator, the fiery young cavalryman and machine-gunner turned revolutionary. Those who could write, wrote their own. The stories of others were taken down by dictation or by tape-recorder. They were not dressed up by literary editing, but are as the men told them. They give sometimes almost blinding glimpses of what revolution is. But after forty years men's memories get hazy here and there, and sometimes two eyewitnesses do not agree. These discrepancies were not smoothed out. I commented to several Mongols that I admired this presentation very much: it was history in the raw. Their answers were in almost the same words: "But how else would you do it? Later on, the historians can straighten things out. But in the meantime, these men were there. These are their stories, and they have a right to tell them."

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Nomads and Commissars: Mongolia Revisited
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iv
  • Introduction xi
  • 1- The Then and the Now 1
  • 2- "Mongolia's Lovely Land" 16
  • 3- Nomads and Their History 31
  • 4- Autonomous Mongolia: the Years Of Frustration 50
  • 5- A Revolution of Shepherds 75
  • 6- The Real Revolution Begins 92
  • 7- The Worst Years 122
  • 8- The Choibalsang Years 148
  • Development, Transformation, Acceleration 170
  • 10- Horseback is All Right 202
  • A Note on Sources and Supplementary Reading 223
  • Index 231
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