Beasts, Men and Gods

Read by Mark F. Smith

(4.4 stars; 133 reviews)

“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. (Summary by Mark F. Smith) (8 hr 59 min)


00 - GLOSSARY 7:21 Read by Mark F. Smith
01 - Into the Woods 11:30 Read by Mark F. Smith
02 - The Secret of My Fellow Traveler 10:53 Read by Mark F. Smith
03 - The Struggle For Life 9:16 Read by Mark F. Smith
04 - A Fisherman 05 - A Dangerous Neighbor 8:48 Read by Mark F. Smith
06 - A River in Travail 8:14 Read by Mark F. Smith
07 - Through Soviet Siberia 08 - Three Days on the Edge of a Precipice 14:18 Read by Mark F. Smith
09 - To the Sayans and Safety 14:32 Read by Mark F. Smith
10 - The Battle on the Seybi 14:57 Read by Mark F. Smith
11 - The Barrier of Red Partisans 7:31 Read by Mark F. Smith
12 - In the Country of Eternal Peace 14:55 Read by Mark F. Smith
13 - Mysteries, Miracles and a New Fight 13:16 Read by Mark F. Smith
14 - The River of the Devil 10:53 Read by Mark F. Smith
15 - The March of Ghosts 8:59 Read by Mark F. Smith
16 - In Mysterious Tibet 14:08 Read by Mark F. Smith
17 - PART II, Mysterious Mongolia 22:36 Read by Mark F. Smith
18 - The Mysterious Lama Avenger 15:54 Read by Mark F. Smith
19 - Wild Chahars 20 - The Demon of Jagisstai 24:06 Read by Mark F. Smith
21 - The Nest of Death 22 - Among the Murderers 18:13 Read by Mark F. Smith
23 - On a Volcano 14:48 Read by Mark F. Smith
24 - A Bloody Chastisement 8:11 Read by Mark F. Smith
25 - Harrassing Days 24:26 Read by Mark F. Smith
26 - The Band of White Hunghutzes 27 - Mystery in a Small Temple 14:59 Read by Mark F. Smith
28 - The Breath of Death 14:15 Read by Mark F. Smith
29 - PART III, On the Road of Great Conquerors 27:53 Read by Mark F. Smith
30 - Arrested! 31 - Traveling by "Urga" 16:58 Read by Mark F. Smith
32 - An Old Fortune Teller 33 - Death From a White Man Will Stand Behind You 16:15 Read by Mark F. Smith
34 - The Horror of War 35 - In the City of Living Gods 20:15 Read by Mark F. Smith
36 - A Son of Crusaders and Privateers 22:02 Read by Mark F. Smith
37 - The Camp of Martyrs 9:15 Read by Mark F. Smith
38 - Before the Face of Buddha 20:12 Read by Mark F. Smith
39 - The Man With a "Head Like a Saddle" PART IV 40 - In the Blissful Garden of… 22:30 Read by Mark F. Smith
41 - The Dust of Centuries 42 - The Book of Miracles 13:21 Read by Mark F. Smith
43 - The Birth of the Living Buddha 44 - A Page in the History of the Present L… 12:26 Read by Mark F. Smith
46 - The Subterranean Kingdom 47 - The King of the World Before the Face of God 19:36 Read by Mark F. Smith
48 - Reality of Religious Fantasy? 49 - The Prophecy of the King of the World i… 11:38 Read by Mark F. Smith


Bravo Bravo from Borneo

(5 stars)

What a delight to have come across this opus magnus of a piece of work as I followed the readings of the masterful narrator Mark Smith. This is firstly an epic adventure and wilderness journey of escape and survival. However...beyond this is the highly engaging geographical, historical and cultural backdrop surrounding our protagonists flight from bolshevics through Siberia, Mongolia and China. The title eludes to his interaction with the regional flora and leaders...bhudist monks and lamas and local officials and the relationship and deep understanding people have with God. There is detail here...but the book remains engaging largely in my view due to the older English used and turn of phrase employed and in large part to our narrators fabulous reading. Utterly engrossing.

(5 stars)

A fantastic book of adventure and intrigue, talking about an all too often forgotten part of the globe’s history—that of Siberia, Mongolia and Tibet during the early 1920s when Chinese and Bolshevik incursions into Mongolia were commonplace. This reading of the obscure stories contained in Ferdinand Ossendowski’s book is generally excellent, and I would guess that most people would find it agreeable.

Great reading by Mark Smith

(5 stars)

The first third of the book is a wild adventure escaping from the Bolsheviks. The middle third features many names in a political struggle between Bolsheviks, White Russians, Chinese and Mongolians. Hard to keep track of it all. The last third is a recounting of myths the author heard from Tibetan Buddhists in Mongolia... Mark Smith makes it all pleasant and interesting to listen to, even if it doesn't make much sense.

(4 stars)

This true story started out as a thrilling, harrowing adventure with one narrow escape after another. You see and experience the horrible atrocities the author, and millions of other unfortunate souls, experienced at the cruel hands of the socialists during the bloody Bolshevic Revolution and civil war. As the author and his companion escape Siberia trying to make it to the Pacific so they can get back home to Europe they travel through Mongolia and China where they face all sorts of dangers from man and beast to the elements. They make acquaintances with some very "unusual" people and are introduced to Buddhism and experience some very mysterious, and mystical events, which is very interesting. This is where it gets very philosophical. Then when you think the story is building to its final conclusion i.e. the authors fate or rescue it ends abruptly and leaves you hanging. Which was disappointing. Mark F Smith does an excellent job telling the story and is one of the best readers at LibriVox.

(5 stars)

A Superb book Superbly read a true naturalist who found his spiritual heart amongst the chamanistc practices and Buddhist temples of Mongolia,. All this amidst the turmoil & carnage of the Russian Revolutionary civil war. Also having read The Bloody Barron , fascinated to hear the bloody Barron had such a deep insight into his own mind and purpose. A must listen , & if still available read. drew fair

(4 stars)

Wow, this is truly an epic escape / survival story. Shackleton has nothing on Ossendowski!! Shackleton was not being shot at by the Commies! The best of the genre until Unbroken came out. Mark Smith is , of course, superb in his reading. Kool story that should be retold often as the memories of the brutality of the Russian Revolution threaten to fade away into history.


(4 stars)

It's amazing how many twists and turns of circumstance Ossendowski lived through. It seemed like he had a mystical protection about him throughout. The second half or so was a bit less action (probably because he was out of Russia by then), but a lot of political intrigue and Buddhism. Which is fine; it was his experience. Very well read.

an interesting account

(4 stars)

I liked it overall. It's well read. Starts off as quite an adventure. I found it difficult to follow somewhat in the middle, but I'm not up on the history in that region and time. The latter part is mystic and and interesting in the shamanic and religious elements it gets into.