John Anthony Garnet Man is a British historian and travel writer. His special interests are China, Mongolia and the history of written communication. He takes particular pleasure in combining historical narrative with personal experience.
He studied German and French at Keble College, Oxford, before doing two postgraduate courses, a diploma in the History and Philosophy of Science at Oxford and Mongolian at the School of Oriental and African Studies, completing the latter in 1968. After working in journalism with Reuters and in publishing with Time-Life Books, he turned to writing, with occasional forays into film, TV and radio.
In the 1990s, he began a trilogy on the three major revolutions in writing: writing itself, the alphabet and printing with movable type. This has so far resulted in two books, Alpha Beta and The Gutenberg Revolution, both republished in 2009. The third, on the origin of writing, is on hold, because it depends on access to Iraq.
He returned to the subject of Mongolia with Gobi: Tracking the Desert, the first book on the region since the 1920s. Work in Mongolia led to Genghis Khan: Life, Death and Resurrection, which has so far appeared in 18 languages. Attila the Hun and Kublai Khan: The Mongol King Who Remade China completed a trilogy on Asian leaders. A revised edition of his book on Genghis Khan, with the results of an expedition up the mountain on which he is supposed to be buried, was upcoming in autumn 2010.
The Terracotta Army coincided with the British Museum exhibition (September 2007- April 2008). This was followed by The Great Wall. The Leadership Secrets of Genghis Khan combines history and leadership theory. Xanadu: Marco Polo and the Discovery of the East was published in autumn 2009, and Samurai: The Last Warrior, the story of Saigō Takamori's doomed 1877 rebellion against the Japanese emperor, was published in February 2011.
In 2007 John Man was awarded Mongolia's Friendship Medal for his contributions to UK-Mongolian relations.
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