By Paul D. Buell
The Silk Road Foundation Newsletter, Vol.1:1 (2003)
Introduction: There is an enormous literature on the age of Mongolian Empire, that period extending from approximately the late 13th century, as prequel, through much of the 14th century, later in Russia, in which Mongols, their states, and successor states dominated the stage in much of the Old World. Unfortunately it is very uneven in quality, much of it in less common languages, and marred by an excessive concern for philological detail. There is also a notable lack of useful overviews, those available either being too popular, and inaccurate, or just plain silly, or so ponderous in detail as to be virtually unreadable by a general audience. Unfortunately, given the complexity of the field, with sources in so many languages, some of them still unpublished, and the decline that Mongolian studies has undergone in recent decades, in the United States in particular, this situation is unlikely to change any time soon.
The bibliographical survey of the field that follows is not even remotely complete, nor could it be given the limited space available for this article. My purpose in providing it is rather to offer a useful guide to what is available, including some items in less common languages, either because these items are extremely important, or because they are the only literature available in major areas of interest. Nonetheless, the main emphasis is on those works that are the most easily read and understood by the non-specialist.