14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Not just for history buffs, 4 Sep 2005
John Man has succeeded in drawing a very detailed picture of the life and times of a man who, despite his huge importance, has remained a somewhat mysterious historical figure. Clearly a labour of love, the book is dotted with anecdotes of the author's travels in Mongolia and with asides on some of the linguistic peculiarities and associated difficulties in interpreting the source material. By engaging with the reader on this level, John Man lifts his book above being merely a factual account of Mongolian (and indeed far eastern) history, making it a genuinely entertaining read aswell.
That doesn't mean that the story is lacking in detail, quite the opposite. John Man has clearly devoted much of his life to mongolian history and culture, and his scholarly expertise shows through. Much of the book focuses on the author's primary source of information, the quite aptly named 'The Secret History Of The Mongols', which is a sort of Mongolian equivalent of Homer's Iliad. Beyond that, Man investigates the mystery of Genghis' death and the lasting cultural effect his empire has had on eastern Asia and the rest of the world. Keeping in mind the dearth of first-hand source material, the level of detail is truly impressive.
Genghis Khan manages to be fascinating, informative and entertaining all at once. Whether you are looking specifically for a thourough investigation of this great conqueror's life, death and lasting influence, or if you are simply looking to broaden your horizons and be enthused by the subject of world history, this is the book for you.
I believe it may also be the only book you will find containing an authentic recipe for mongolian marmot casserole.