Riding the Steppes

A 1,000-mile odyssey across Mongolia on horseback

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Barbara Holland
Bloomsbury, $24.95

The author's engaging survey (which grew out of her 1997 article in Smithsonian) ranges across 1,000 years of the ultimate conflict resolver, tracing courtly combat from the relatively benign (in 1700s France, the philosopher Voltaire challenged a nobleman, who failed to show at the appointed hour—but did have the young intellectual thrown in jail) to the tragic. In 1804, the showdown between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton cost the first secretary of the treasury his life.


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