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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisionist history versus 'historical fact' - a true masterpiece...
This book is as good an example as any of the oxymoronic nature of that old phrase, 'historical fact'. There is of course no such thing. History is written by people, by cultures, by civilisations, and as such is subject to a huge array of prejudices, biases, grudges and agendas. Western history tells us almost nothing about Genghis Khan, short of casting him in the role...
Published on 22 Feb 2010 by C. Ball

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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars revisionist interpretation full of assumptions, omissions, and factless assertions
This is an odd book. On the one hand, it is supposed to be a kind of narrative based on new source materials, an intimate biography if you will. As such, the author tries to tell it like an interesting story, with quirky personal details, the ascription of emotion at crucial moments, and some (surprisingly poor) evocative language. On the other hand, as an anthropologist...
Published on 8 Aug 2011 by rob crawford


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5.0 out of 5 stars Truly fascinating, 6 July 2013
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This review is from: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (Kindle Edition)
I really liked this book. I think Genghis must rank as the most amazing military and political figure in history. I think that we Europeans who were at that point at the edges of the civilised world have an ego problem in recognising his genius and tolerance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and well woth reading., 2 July 2013
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This review is from: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (Kindle Edition)
Essential reading for anyone interested in history and the making of the middle east. Genghis Khan has been so thoroughly villified in Europe over the last 500 years because of incorrect or confused information it's about time someone tried to put things straing. A wonderful effort, and an exiting read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 21 April 2013
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I was a bit put off initially by the authors claim of being one of a few really into the subject having travelled to the sacred lands of the Mongols and been tutored but the natives. As it is I have to trust his word on the background of this book, based on secret documents only the author and a few of his colleagues have gotten an insight into.
This being said it's a good tale which I thoroughly enjoyed.
A minor complaint would be in the title since only about half the book deals with Genghis himself and the rest to his relatives. I bought "Khublai Khan" simultaneously and find the books overlapping. It's a minor matter so I just enjoy the ride.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and inspiring history read I have ever had, 28 Mar 2013
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The book is just amazing, it teaches you the Mongolian history mostly intertwined with global affairs during the great Mongol empire from the beginning till the end when the empire began to lose its core strength. Just a great read for anyone wishing to learn more about Mongolian history and world history between 12th and 15th century.I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has had a distorted often biased teachings in their history classes about Genghis Khan.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Congratulations, 15 Mar 2013
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The autor, who admires very much the Khan, makes a very clear description of the period and the expantion of his conquests.
It must have been terrible to assemble all that information, and he tells the story in a very clear and simple way. No simple task
due to the immense size of the where the "action" develops.
Loved the book and learned a lot. Thanks to Mr Weatherford
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5.0 out of 5 stars interesting and well laid out, 27 Feb 2013
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A. Reid "areid82" (uk) - See all my reviews
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such an interesting read, well laid out. makes you understand why we do certain things that are taken for granted where they originate from.
depicts Khans life from birth to death and his legacy afterwards including his affect on the modern world
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5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opener, 20 Feb 2013
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Mr. K (North East) - See all my reviews
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Ghengis Khan has always been portrayed as a monster. This book sets a few things straight - He was no saint, but not as bad as he has been portrayed to me by a long chalk.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world, 13 Jan 2013
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I found this fascinating book, some much so that I immediately re-read it and enjoyed it even more the second time!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at one of history's great names, 8 Nov 2012
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I thought the early part based on some 'secret history ' was a bit difficult to swallow- to know if genuine. However the historical significance of Gengis's achievements, and the subtle and well thought out strategies for war and then the rule of an empire was really good.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Genghis Khan and the Unsustainable Opulence of his Modern World., 23 Oct 2012
Although many object that this is a ''revisionist history... (and that) Weatherford is not a historian but an anthropologist'', for me this worked well as the essence of anthropology is cross-cultural comparison, and cultural relativism has become the canon of anthropological inquiry. I therefore enjoyed this perhaps Asiatic-ally favored introduction to a wider world view of hidden histories that have indeed shaped our modern world to this day.

Despite popular misconceptions and his unquestionably cruel methodologies in war, few scholars would today claim that Genghis Khan was a blood-thirsty barbarian.
Among his accomplishments once he had subdued his target tribes, cities, Empires and Nations, was The Pax Mongolica from Southeast Asia to Eastern Europe of which has been said "a maiden bearing a nugget of gold on her head could wander safely throughout the realm.". Rule of Law which included accountability for all people (Kings as well as peasants). Freedom of Religion, Free Trade, Diplomatic Immunity. Science prospered - unlike Europe where people were persecuted, tortured and murdered by Church and State for ideas outside their current orthodoxy (but ironically accepted by them today).

Whilst the author does state that ''The Mongols made no technological breakthroughs of their own, founded no new religions, wrote few books or dramas, and gave the world no new crops or methods of agriculture...Yet, as their army conquered culture after culture, they collected and passed on those skills from one civilization to the next.'' In this context they actually did create new applications for their assimilated technologies, for example the Chinese explosives that they employed in siege warfare, and by contrast their encouragement of new crops in diverse environments - to provide their workforce subjectry with further tools to create the material wealth that they coveted. In many other areas the ensuing Mongol Emperors are shown to have fostered creativity from religious debate between faiths, to better production and management of resources, even creating and trialling a paper money system.
That their system proved unsustainable however was perhaps due to the lack of a principled leader such as Genghis had proved to be, cruel indeed -but he also outlawed torture, ruthless - but if you accepted his rule then you would share in his new world order.

Nevertheless I share other readers reservations over the authors claims that ''this transfusion of culture and trade led to the European Renaissance'' - although the Mongol Empire certainly contributed by various means including creation of channels of communication and sharing of information along them. Yet, despite earlier adulation (as in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales) and perhaps because of a lack of understanding of the wider world that the Mongol Empire had encompassed, as the Empire was increasingly torn by conflict between inheritances of the title and power of the 'Great Khan' (and although despite all these pitfalls some descendants ruled on until the 19thC in various kingdoms) the overall conflict led to breakdown - the power diminished, the communication routes dwindled away. In an absence of ongoing relations with a Mongol Empire - our brief European visits by the Golden Hordes had shown them a Europe still relatively poor compared to the wealth of the East which they plundered. This loss (of an enduring Mongolian-European association) in my view denied the West an earlier introduction to many of the later Mongolian Empires constructive and tolerant social reforms, Europe chose in absence of any other impetus to explore and revive the ancient classical cultures of Rome and Greece instead, giving rise to the Renaissance period .

I would also mention perhaps against the favorable view that I have here held of the Mongolian Empire at its apogee, that the only culture which I know of that calls unlimited perpetual growth to be positive would be that of a cancerous culture (or perhaps some of the modern trans-global world's short sighted social, ecological and environmental businesses ethics). Once Genghis and other Khan's exhausted the possibility to furnish their nomadic lives with the opulent trappings of more sedentary cultures (stability is essential to cultivate, mine and refine resources into merchandise), their very success at taking over other cities and societies left them no alternative, other than to change their modus operandi and thus themselves, to extend ever further on new conquests in search of greater resources. This endless extension can be seen to have divided the center and left the Mongol Empire(s) open to internal faction and external forces.

Recommended as a lively and entertaining introduction to the Mongolian formation of the modern world.
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