“Beasts, Men and Gods” is an account of an epic journey, filled with perils and narrow escapes, in the mold of “The Lord of the Rings.” The difference is: it’s all true. Ferdinand Ossendowski was a Pole who found himself in Siberia and on the losing side during the Bolshevik Revolution. To escape being rounded up and shot, he set out with a friend to reach the Pacific, there to take ship back to Europe. During his journey he fell in with dozens of other military men who shared the same objective… but nearly every one of them perished on the way. It’s up to you to decide whether Ossendowski was threatened most by the beasts, by the men, or by the gods, or indeed, by the severe and uncompromising landscapes of Siberia, Mongolia, and China. That he survived at all seems improbable. The mystical mysteries and magics of Buddhism, “The Yellow Faith”, were woven about and through his sojourn and had no little part in his survival. Time after time he was put in the delicate position of being the bargainer between warring groups, and ultimately, only incredible luck and his friendship with the Hutuktu of Narabanchi Monastery saw him through. When published in the United States, this book caused a sensation and became a best-seller.
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