Debunking Genghis Khan's image as ""merely"" a barbarian conqueror, the author of The Land and People of China (1989) sets readers on a path of discovery and elucidation. He delineates the ""culture of the steppe"" evolved by Mongolia's nomadic people, from their ease on horseback (children ""learn to ride in infancy"") to their specialties in the arts (in a ""portable culture,"" oral literature, dance, and singing developed more than painting or sculpture). Genghis Khan's institution of the yasa (a law code), his ""pony express"" (messages traveled 3,500 miles in two weeks), and the raids of his ""hordes""--all contributed in diverse ways to the contemporary commencement of the European age of exploration. Opening up this fascinating country to even casual readers by including stimulating facts and anecdotes, Major elegantly links Mongolia's past with its present, its culture with world history. A welcome, inviting close-up. Illustrated with b&w photos (not seen). Maps; bibliography; further reading; index.