September 4, 2006


How Scot Ronald became toast of Outer Mongolia (STEPHEN MCGINTY, 9/04/06, The Scotsman)

AS A child, Ronald Deen saved the money from his milk round to buy books that carried his imagination far from the streets of Glasgow to the steppes of Mongolia and the court of Genghis Khan.

Throughout his life he retained an affection for the faraway country, eventually writing a historical novel trying to change Genghis Khan's reputation from that of a ruthless conqueror into one of the great figures in history.

Now, the retired civil engineer from Ayr has told how Mongolian officials liked his book so much that he was invited to represent Britain at the 800th anniversary of the founding of the country.

Mr Deen, 74, last month found himself dining on roast goat, and sleeping in a traditional ger, a round tent, on the Mongolian steppes.

During the eight day, all-expenses-paid trip he was introduced to the president of Mongolia, Nambaryn Enkhbayar, and presented with a medal of honour for the diligent research behind his novel, The Wrath of the Tartars.

A copy of the book, published in 1998, was sent to the Mongolian embassy in London, where staff were so impressed they ordered 30 copies.

While I'd not previously heard of Mr. Deen's book, I find myself, for no readily apparent reason, in the midst of two outstanding books on the topic: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford and Eastern Approaches by Fitzroy MacLean. Both are well worth reading.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 4, 2006 9:39 AM

Since Mr. Deen's literary art celebrates Ghengis Kahn, does that make him a Kahn artist?


Posted by: Mike Morley at September 4, 2006 11:11 AM

It's pronounced Zhen-zhis, by the way.

(Did you know I served in Viet Nam?)

Posted by: John Kerry at September 4, 2006 11:15 AM

A year of so I encountered in a business setting a gentleman, a recent immimgrant from out in the "stans," whose given name was "Tamerlane."

At my suggestion he went on to research what Western thought made of his namesake. He reported that he was pleased and impressed, in that his name was common in his homeland and rarely thought of in connnection with mountans of skulls and the like.

Different cultures view history from different perspectives.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 4, 2006 1:14 PM

Yes, the Mongols would be revered if they were Norse.

Posted by: oj at September 4, 2006 2:24 PM

How, with a career and kids and a wife, does one "find oneself" in the middle of two books on Mongolia? Do you experience time like the rest of us?

Posted by: Palmcroft at September 4, 2006 7:06 PM

The Wife and kids are the career.

Posted by: oj at September 4, 2006 7:19 PM

The definition of career is being too lazy to look for a better job.

Posted by: AllenS at September 4, 2006 7:51 PM


I suspect he has the family live out whatever he is reading at the time. So, he teaches the kids to 'play' bushkazi after school, and takes the wife to the yurt every night.

Posted by: ratbert at September 4, 2006 10:27 PM