“They also offered a reading recommendation, the memoir-cum-travelogue “Wild East,” by Jill Lawless, a Canadian journalist who spent a few years in Mongolia in the mid-’90s, just after seven decades of Soviet Communism fell here. Her harrowing, often hilarious, stories of expat life, which I read on the plane on the way over, surpassed even those of my friends’ holiday.” The New York Post
“Lawless introduces us to Mongolia’s tabloid press, to teenage mineworkers, sharp-eyed young hustlers, nomads whose only possessions are their livestock, Mongolian wrestlers and Mongolian horse races.” Toronto Star
“This readable and reportorial book is the perfect antidote to … those tiresomely difficult, pointlessly dangerous, and essentially fake expeditions undertaken against the advice of local people who know better.” The Georgia Straight, Vancouver
“Wryly funny and wide-spectrum account of Mongolia’s tumultuous rebirthing into the 21st century. Half the population lives in Soviet apartment blocks and watches satellite TV but the other half still eek a living from the exquisite, barren hills while living in nomadic felt tents. Of course, I’d much rather be in the tents… but whatever your preference, you will definitely enjoy Ms. Lawless’ writing. She was editor of an Ulaan Baator newspaper for two years, and she tells it like it is. Very highly recommended.” Mongolian Buryat Civilisation Bookstore
“Jill Lawless trof enkele jaren terug een land aan dat veel westerser is dan zij dacht: Mongolië. In Het wilde oosten beschrijft ze hoe het land uit een eeuwenoude isolatie probeert te geraken wat tot fascinerende contrasten leidt….” de Volkskrant
“Jill Lawless’ book is not a scholarly tome per se, yet it is of definite value to the contemporary Mongolian scholar … Lawless’ period is 1997-1999, the heart of the tumultuous and ill-spent years of Democratic Coalition Government… a period of great hopes for democratic flowering and free market enterprise leading the nation to prosperity and progress.” Alicia J. Campi in Mongolian Studies
Wild East: Travels in the New Mongolia recommended by the Embassy of the United States in Mongolia .
“This is a good, fun book about life in Mongolia. … it’s an interesting and often amusing series of stories loosely connected.”
“I just read Jill Lawless’ Wild East so as not to arrive with a totally blank slate. Lawless worked as a reporter and editor for the UB Post in the late 1990s. Her book gave me some idea of what I’m in for … Lawless gives what seems to me right now a vivid picture of Mongolia, from its vast desert to the taste of domestic beer.” Salt Milk Tea: Notes from a language student in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Wednesday, June 9, 2010
“Others sent me Jill Lawless’s Wild East: The New Mongolia, a compilation of pieces she wrote when she was editor of Mongolia’s English-language newspaper, the UB Post, during Mongolia’s transition from a socialist people’s republic to young democracy. With the wind shaking the frame of my ger, I lit the stove and read what these and other writers claimed to have found just outside my flapping felt walls.
“By the time veteran journalist Jasper Becker’s Mongolia: Travels in an Untamed Land arrived, I had put aside books written since Mongolia opened up to the West in the early 1990s. Most Western travellers and writers discovered the same sights from the back of a borrowed horse. Only Lawless had investigated the place over time on its own terms. The others, full of pith and vinegar and a standard set of assumptions about what they would find, built books on flights of fancy – golfing across Mongolia, following the path of medieval monks, ‘rediscovering shamanism’ – that were flimsier even than those that had set me in motion. The books were as exciting as museum diorama, papier-mâché models of their ‘medieval’ travels and capitalist fantasies.” Three Years in Mongolia: Trying to be a Travel Writer, Luke Meinzen, Kill Your Darlings, 10 April 2012
“I put Becker away and pulled out Wild East by Jill Lawless. She was heaps better than Becker, which wasn’t hard.” MÖRÖN TO MÖRÖN: Two Men, Two Bikes, One Mongolian Misadventure, Tom Doig, Allen & Unwin, 2013
“While on the plane, I started to read “Wild East: travels in the new Mongolia” (2000) by Jill Lawless. She writes her own experiences while she lived in Mongolia. She makes fun of herself and telling some common cultural shocks when a foreigner encounter wild Mongolia. I really like her words, simple, fun, but also make readers think and learn.” Mongold Baina, Tuesday, 13 August 2013
“Wild East is less of a travel memoir, but rather essays and shorter narratives of creative non-fiction … it provides a compelling narrative into the historical moment when Mongolia dropped its isolation and began … its journey toward modernization.” Three Works of Travel Writing to Ignite Your Imagination (while we patiently wait for the pandemic to run its course), November 10, 2020
“Lawless captures the startling contrasts of emerging technologies, MTV culture and crumbling Soviet heritage on the wide, open plains in this entertaining tale of life in modern Mongolia.” (Item no. MGL27) longitudebooks.com
Taken during Jill’s travels in Western Mongolia, this haunting picture of a herder girl stands as one of the most iconic photos of the late 20th Century.