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on 6 October 2017
The sample pages were like historic fiction, bought the book after reading the first pages but without warning it turns into a history book and then jumps to post Soviet travelogue. End chapter and ten year old Taymour is learning to fight.
I just needed something beyond Wikipedia on taymour, even his name us hard to pin down because it can be spelt a number of ways, even without the lame bit. Tamerlane is full of info that would be missing from a simple novel but it is hard to get into.
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on 7 April 2017
This is a really good book which you wont put down until you finish it. Only problem with this book is that early on the author wanders off and writes about stage plays and other irrelevant things - these could have been put in the appendices. But once the book really gets gooing it becomes addictive. And when you finish it you think you have seen a movie. Doubly better for me as I have visited many of the sites in Uzbekistan which are mentioned in the book.
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on 16 August 2014
A surprisingly beautiful amalgamation of travelogue & history which pays tribute to a man who has not been given his due worth in western historical literature. Although at some points the personal recollections of the author concerning the modern remnants of Temur's world are every bit as engaging as the history of Tamerlane there are a few points where it drags on a little too much and one cannot help but flick a few pages forward in search of the resumption of Temur's own story.
There is nothing new here, so if you are already familiar with the historiography of the Timurid period you will recognize every single source the author quotes and therefore naturally this is not a work which draws any new conclusions or puts forward any new theories or even hypotheses. It is however narrative history at its best and makes no pretense of being an academic analysis of the various aspects of Temur's life and empire, so I decided to give it a generous five stars.
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on 11 November 2017
A very interesting book about a conqueror who deserves to be as well known as Genghis khan. I have given it 4 stars as I found some of the digressions a bit distracting and I wanted him to get on with the life of Tamerlane. However some of the information about how Tamerlane's life still influences our world today was fascinating.
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on 8 December 2015
Hard to say it but Tamerlane is practically omitted from World History. Where is he ever mentioned (except when the West were concerned by his approaching terror)? Fortunately, this biography and historiography details greatly the complex world that Tamerlane was part of and how he conquered lands from Samarkand to Delhi to Damascus to Ankara. A great conqueror that deserves more study.
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on 25 August 2009
This is a very good book, a highly efficient biography (in so far as this can be achieved) and history of the Emperor Timur/Tamerlane, about whose astonishing conquests in vast swathes of central Asia, India, and the borders of Europe and China too little is generally known. Interspersed with these are Marozzi's impressions of modern cities in present-day Uzbekistan, such Samarkand, Shakrisabh and Bokhara, to give some relief from the history of brutal sieges and massacres, and some sense of Timur's legacy (although, having recently travelled to the country, I can say that these impressions from before 2004 already seem a little dated).
The writing style is readable and lively, making effective use of near-contemporary sources like Arab historians or the Spaniard Clavijo. The analysis of both the reasons for Timur's staggering military successes (rewarding his troops well, exploiting the element of surprise and a range of ingenious ruses, as well as instilling utter terror among his enemies),and the other sides to his character (intellectual interests and architectural ambition)make for a balanced assessment.
Plenty to commend it, then, but for me a less impressive book than travel writing on the area,such as by Colin Thubron, which manages to be more evocative of today's Central Asian places and persons, or than histories of neighbouring powers, such as Michael Axworthy's impressive history of Iran. And the battles and massacres, though very vivid at times (the Indian campaign) do sicken the reader. Four stars, not five - good but not great.
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on 29 May 2017
Never really understood the depth of Tamerlanes deeds until I read this. Ruthlesroms at times but also a great empire builder. Sadly apart from buildings + statues not much left but what is left must be a site to see.
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on 24 May 2018
Very interesting. Not a man you would wish to upset! I would recommend this book to anyone planning to visit Uzbekistan.
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on 11 May 2015
Very informative about someone I knew very little of. All the way through though I had a sense that all the leaders and cities that defied him were incredibly irresponsible with the lives of their people. This happens throughout history and makes me want to write a book on the stupidities of the 'so called' nobilities of the world. The historical asides were a bit too flowery for me too.
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on 8 August 2010
i had never before heard of Tamerlane before i saw this book, and after reading the synopsis i thought this could be very interesting indeed. as soon as i started reading this i could not put the book down at all, although i didnt like the parts when the author kept coming back to talk about a stage version in England... i could not help thinking how great it must have been to live in Samarkand at the time of Tamerlane and how it must have felt to see him come back to the city time and again in triumph.
3 people found this helpful
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