On the Steppes of Central Asia Author:Matt Stone "Steppes" is story told by Matt Stone, a journalism student at Harvard University and an — editor of the student newspaper. Matt receives a letter from Kley Urtnasan, the Minister of Cultural — Exchanges of the Republic of Mongolia, inviting him to spend his summer working at the Mongolian — Free Press. Matt isn't interested until he rece... more »ives a call from his cousin Eric at the State
Department, who heard of the invitation via their mothers. Matt goes to Foggy Bottom and learns
that, with the collapse of Communism, Mongolia is in chaos, apparently run by a mysterious person
known only as "Teacher." Intrigued, Matt agrees to accept the invitation and attempt to identify
Teacher in return for getting to break whatever story he uncovers.
In Mongolia, Matt meets Kley and his sister Yom. Kley turns out to be an intellectual
dynamo and challenges every idea Matt ever held. For example, when Matt explains how the U.S.
government has built-in checks and balances to prevent the abuse of power, Kley responds, "Of
what use is power if it cannot be abused?"
Gradually, Matt uncovers the incredible secret of this society, a secret so shocking that he
thinks it would be easier to defend a child molester than to defend these people. And, much to his
regret, Matt learns who Teacher is.
Matt's journey isn't just geographical - it is primarily one of intellectual growth. As Kley and
others in Mongolia force him to think, he abandons ideas that make no sense to him and accepts
new ideas. In the end, when he is at last able to win on the battlefield of ideas, he realizes that his