Books by John Man

Released: Feb. 6, 2018

"A great historical resource about a mysterious people that also shows how women, through the ages, have gathered strength from each other and continue to do so today."
Man (Saladin: The Life, The Legend and the Islamic Empire, 2015, etc.) debunks the ancient myths and legendary nonsense surrounding a race of women warriors. Read full book review >
MARCO POLO by John Man
Released: Nov. 11, 2014

"Marvelous tales that first inspired the Western traveler to see and learn more."
British historian Man (Samurai: A History, 2014, etc.) chronicles his journey to Asia where Marco Polo first led the Western traveler. The book was first published in the U.K. in 2009 as Xanadu.Read full book review >
SAMURAI by John Man
Released: March 1, 2014

"Smooth, sophisticated history writing."
Man, a crack biographer of Asian historical figures (Ninja: 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warriors, 2012, etc.), tenders a survey of the samurai, the equivalent of Japan's feudal knights. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 5, 2013

"A thoroughly researched, appealing examination of the 'original men in black.'"
Intriguing look at the enigmatic world of the deadly Asian assassin. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"Man presents readers with a Wall for every season, even more awe-inspiring in its workaday clothes than in its romantic garb."
A learned, lively history of the Great Wall's evolution that cuts it down to size without diminishing its allure. Read full book review >
Released: May 12, 2008

"Scholarly yet spellbound, skeptical yet open to belief."
A judicious exploration of the circumstances and meaning behind the terra cotta army interred with China's first emperor. Read full book review >
ATTILA by John Man
Released: July 18, 2006

"Entertaining and lucid account of a phenomenal militarist unable to resist a crumbling empire's vast, unprotected wealth. "
A surprisingly intimate view of the man labeled "God's scourge" by a Roman Empire in its death throes. Read full book review >
GOBI by John Man
Released: Nov. 1, 1999

A spare, polished profile of the Gobi, Mongolia's southern sweep of desert, long closed to most non-Mongolians, from journalist Man. In this welcome account of the high eastern-Asian vastness, Man spans the breadth of the desert from the remote southwest, where snow leopards ghost through the Altai Mountains, to the rocky archipelagos of the east, where roads are only a suggestion: "Turn left at the dead camel." Wildlife crowds Man's imagination, if not exactly the sere landscape, as he pursues vestigial populations of the near-mythic wild bactrian camels, the wild horses that made the Mongolian cavalry such a military presence in 13th-century Asia, the desert bear (whose numbers have been reduced to about 30), the returning wolf, and the wonder-working snow leopard, brought low between a rock (the value of the leopards" pelts) and a hard place (their timeless, prosaic conflict with sheepherders). Prehistoric wildlife also commands much of Man's attention, as Mongolia is one of the world's great fossil sites, and Roy Chapman Andrews, who discovered dinosaur eggs at the country's Flaming Cliffs in the 1920's, one of Man's heroes. Man's writing has the unadorned lines of Shaker furniture, only occasionally extravagant, as when overwhelmed by the Gobi's ecclesiastical light, the purpling shadowplay, the rainbows that serve as living proof it is raining up there in the sky though it is so hot the drops evaporate before touching earth. He does justice, without becoming predictable, to the variety a traveler experiences in Mongolia: There is still such a thing as twilight, that faint aurora in the night's western sky long banished from any locale where darkness has been sullied, and there is also the bane of modern economic dislocation in the wake of the Soviet Union's dismemberment. A dangerous book. It makes the Gobi—the land and those that move upon it'so seductive that readers may forget it is a place that treats the incautious without mercy. (7 color and 12 b&w photos) Read full book review >