SOCIAL SCIENCES

Into Wild Mongolia

Yale Univ. Feb. 2020. 224p. ISBN 9780300246179. $28.
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Schaller’s (The Serengeti Lion; Tibet Wild) eminence in his field is irrefutable and well deserved, with over 50 years experience in global, scientific wildlife observation and conservation. However, this recent offering might not land with a general audience. Schaller and his team journey to and from Mongolia, with specific animal research in mind, over the course of a handful of trips spanning approximately 30 years. This is only glancingly established, leaving readers to wonder about the precise time period in which these research excursions took place. There is not enough clear chronological comparison for readers to accurately gauge the evolution of the region. And despite Schaller’s comprehension of the Mongolia’s history, he does not consistently extend that understanding to the individual Mongolians themselves, or his place as “other” among them. His disdain in portraying locals contracted to work with him who exhibit what he characterizes as less than adequate enthusiasm and support strikes a discordant note. Nonetheless, included are detailed and delightful field notes and findings from his wildlife work.
VERDICT Recommended for biologists and travelers interested in the region.

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