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May 23, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

IN SEARCH OF GENGHIS KHAN by Tim Severin (Collier Books: $13; 241 pp., illustrated). The author of several popular adventure books, Severin rode through Mongolia on horseback, looking for surviving elements of its traditional culture. Often referred to in the West as "Outer Mongolia," the Mongolian People's Republic is a vast, largely inhospitable steppe. But for Severin and its people, the almost deified figure of Genghis Kahn continues to brood over the rolling plains. The author provides lively, often uncomfortable pictures of a starkly beautiful country whose people somehow survive on a diet of boiled mutton and mare's milk. Severin's ability to relate what he observes to accounts of life at the court of the Great Khan sets this book apart from run-of-the-mill armchair adventures.

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