- Hardcover: 312 pages
- Publisher: James Bennett Pty Ltd; First Edition edition (29 April 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0609610627
- ISBN-13: 978-0609610626
- Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 3.6 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 892,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World Hardcover – 29 Apr 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
Genghis Khan, or Temujin, his actual birth name, is an amazing figure. Considering his family were outcasts, herders, the lowest of the low, from a minor tribe in Mongolia, the fact that he rose to become one of the greatest figures of the past 1000 years is astonishing. Add that to his achievements as Great Khan - the establishment of a paper money currency, the promotion of global commerce, the rule of international secular law, the promotion of freedom of religious worship, the idea that not even a ruler was above the law, his role in the creation of the modern states of Russia and China - and it seems truly criminal that such an important figure was ever dismissed as a 'barbarian'.
This is a wonderful book. I honestly couldn't put it down. Weatherford writes with such evident love and enthusiasm for his subject, and whilst I did have to reserve a certain skepticism for some of his claims for the Mongolian Empire (the influence on the European Renaissance, for one) he has certainly convinced me of the greatness of the Great Khan.
historians like Paul Ratchnevsky may consult more primary sources [JW bases his work on the Secret History of the Mongols, Juvayni, and Rashid-ad-Din, Ratchnevsky consults some additional Chinese sources like the Shenwu qinzheng lu]. Texts such as Saunders may be more scholarly and are more nuanced in their conclusions, but this footnote-free story (notes are indexed to sentences only at the end) is eminently readable, and like Timothy May has said in a review, it is the kind of writing that, unlike "dusty monographs", can fire one's "love for history".
Writing with rare lyrical sensitivity, Weatherford brings across a dramatic narrative of the military conquests. The first part deals with Genghis Khan consolidating the tribes of Mongolia (Chapters 2-3). Most of the book (Chapters 4-8), deals with world conquest. Genghis Khan launched his series of conquests when in his late 40s, and within fifteen years (1212 to his death in 1227), he had conquered four times the territory of the Roman or Macedonian empires at their peak; after his death, it would be grow half as much larger.
However, the most interesting aspect of the book is its discussion of the impact of this large trade-friendly empire, lasting over 200 years, may have had (Chapter 9). Printing, firearms, the use of the compass in navigation, bowed instruments such as the violin, all came to Europe through Mongol interactions.Read more ›
Genghis was a first-rate military and political genius: from destitute poverty, he first united the Mongol tribes, in the process overcoming centuries-old customs of tribal vendetta, kidnapping, and simple rapine. Once united, he forged a fighting force - based on cavalry without infantry - that was unequalled in its time. He and then his successors over 4 generations or so, created the largest empire that the world has ever known. Once it had reached its apogee under Khubilai Khan, the Mongols created a vast region of trade, technology and art exchange, and a certain kind of law. The unitary Empire was carved up between the grandsons of Genghis Khan, whose cross-ownership in each others' territories of trade networks and manufacturing facilities moderated their war-making on each other. Once the Black Death disrupted their networks, the Empire collapsed as the grandsons started fighting amongst themselves. The book covers these developments competently, and there is nothing whatsoever new in this.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent narrative that chronicles the life of not only Ghengis Khan but his descendants too. A true definer of the world we live in today .Published 1 month ago by Gary Kyte
It only took me three days to read this relatively thin paperback. Genghis Khan had a huge role in history and there is rather a dearth of information on him, considering the... Read morePublished 7 months ago by wezg
Fascinating book. A wealth of facts and information about a culture mostly unknown to Westerners and rarely researched in depth. Would definitely recommend.Published 8 months ago by A. Fikiori
A really interesting read. Maintained my interested through out. The writing was excellent.Published 9 months ago by M Zurbrugg
Very easy to follow, you sometimes forget that you are reading non-fictionPublished 9 months ago by NIK BARRIE
Very well written book, giving some wonderful insights to a much maligned leader and race of people, they may have created havoc but did more for the progression of humanity than... Read morePublished 9 months ago by terry
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