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Unfenced Country [Kindle Edition]

4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

As Elspeth Huxley has said of him, Stephen Pern is an original. Though Unfenced Country is the latest in a long line of books about riding across Mongolia, Pern was the first Westerner to do so. His arrival in what today could well become one of the world's richest countries coincided with a time when it was one of the poorest, a crash victim struggling to drag itself free from the wreckage of the ex Soviet Union. The author spent sixteen months there, buying and selling some two dozen horses on which he covered over 3000 miles. Pern's photographs turn out to be as perceptive as his prose - an absolutely genuine book from a travel writer described as the funniest since Eric Newby's hike through the Hindu Kush.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Struck a few chords 12 Aug. 2013
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I was travelling and working in China and Cuba at the time when the author was based in Mongolia. Those countries have since found their own routes out of the post-Soviet mess, but many of Pern's observations struck a chord with my own experiences. I've also walked and cycled through the ethnic Mongol regions of NW China and, again, his notes on the daily lives, customs and landscapes are bang on. I had considered writing a Kindle narrative of my own recent trip but decided not to - at least in part because I fear I couldn't match the kind of lyrical, descriptive quality that Pern has achieved in 'Unfenced Country.' Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than just another travel book 1 Oct. 2013

"A journey doesn't always stop when you do. It has its own momentum, runs forward like a wave up a beach, pushes against carefully constructed breakwaters, threatens emotional dams".

Stephen Pern tells a good story, his prose is image-rich, sometimes poetic, quite often very funny, nearly always down-to-earth and at times insightful and thought-provoking like the above quotation. A highly entertaining read that takes you across Mongolia without having to leave your armchair - which is exactly what a good book should do - the only problematic bits being the pronunciation of the names of the locals, a necessary evil as you don't expect them to be called Bob or Alice. You also learn a lot about the Mongolians and their country along the way. I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Mongolia 5 Oct. 2013
I remember Mongolia back in the 1980s, travelling through from Peking on my way to Moscow. Of course, it's all changed now. The wide open steppes are being built over and exploitation of mineral wealth is leaving great scars on what was once, as Stephen Pern says, unfenced country. The story of his travels to all points of the Mongolian compass bring brings back memories of those days. Thousand of tourists pass now through what was once a remote country on the Trans-Siberian Express but this book takes you out into the real Mongolia. It is a fascinating tale, well worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just another travel book 5 Oct. 2013
Stephen Pern is a keen and perceptive observer of people, landscape and culture. 'Unfenced Country' is written with humour, originality and an honesty often lacking in travel books. This is a long awaited and worthy successor to 'The Great Divide' which narrates the author's walk along the Continental Divide in America. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A long hard ride, but an easy read 9 Jun. 2013
Firstly I have to confess an interest - Stephen is my twin brother with whom I have squabbled, argued and disagreed all our lives.
But I have to admit that he's managed to write yet another book that lingers in one's mind long after he has got home and the final chapter ends.
Unfenced Country has the timelessness of a deep humanity, and if you like to be taken to places where you can never go and that make you wonder why this is so, then this is the travel book for you. And be prepared to giggle and to wipe away a tear all on the same page.
I did tell him that the title was crap, but after 6 decades of squabbling why should he start paying attention to me now?
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5.0 out of 5 stars When Capitalism came to Mongolia 8 Jun. 2013
By roger
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What an adventure. Stephen's wry observations made me laugh out loud whilst the deprivations and hardships he endured made me shiver.There are insights into a rapidly changing culture, interspersed with updates on the position in 2013. The spiritual trip is as interesting as the ones on horses. I wish I could have seen the photos properly on my entry level Kindle.
If you're into travel writing at its best, buy " Unfenced Country"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Voyaging with a horse 29 Dec. 2013
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Excellent read. Pern's writing puts you right there with him on the steppe, navigating his way across this vast emptiness with only his horses for company. His quirky humour throws a different light to the usual travel stories. If you appreciate horses then Pern's adventure shows them as partners to humans in the way they were once used in the west.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best contemporary travel book 16 Jun. 2013
By Muccie
Fascinating account of travels across Mongolia. Amazing sense of humour kept me entertained throughout. Based in 1990s- a tragic period in history of former USSR, so some of history about this period. Many quality pictures to keep my imagination active. I always thought of travel books as boring-definitely not this one!
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