What a indictment of my Euro-centric education that much of the material in Weatherford's book was a revelation to me. I was glued to my I-pod.
Genghis Khan killed more than 35 million people, most of them innocents posing no threat to the Mongols, but he did allow religious freedom, encouraged free trade, and, curiously enough, set the stage for the Renaissance along the way. Okay then, all is forgotten. This book's treatment of the killing, particularly the author's casual reference to it, is chilling to me. I'm greatly troubled by it. I'm puzzled by the adoring comments from listeners. I would encourage those intrigued by the story to read more. There has to be more to this story. This book reads like advocacy not history. Maybe that's the point. I'm confused.
Other reviews sold this to me as non-fiction written in so engaging a manner as to beggar belief. The historical figures are brought to life and the Mongol cultural revelations are shattering!
Right. I now suspect these reviewers also enjoy curling up with a good technical manual after a long day.
Actually, that may not be fair. I enjoy fascinating and didactic non-fiction, but I think this has taught me that it's got to be a subject for which I have a predilection. For me, the book seemed dry. Perhaps if you enjoy anthropology...
Addicted to Audible since 2009
I absolutely loved this book and overall, I thought the book just got better and better as the book went on. Very interesting!
The book was well researched and thorough and the reader was very good. With that said you can sense that the writer had a little bias (I call it a man-crush) on Gengis Kahn and attributed the Mongol Empire as having developing the modern world short of landing on the moon and the invention of the computer. The real truth is that the Mongols contributed nothing but terror to the people of the dark ages and enslaved the masons, astrologist, scientists and craftsman of races with superior intellect (Chinese, Persians, Eastern Europeans, etc) and attributed their inventions and contributions to society to the Mongols who ruled (or payed tribute to) the lands by threat of death. The real truth is that if 30 million innocent citizens were not attacked, these contributions would have occurred naturally.
It sounds like I'm attacking the author, but I'm not. I highly recommend this book. He did a great job, it is just readily apparent he had a skewed view of what he calls "The great leader" and even visited his grave to pay homage and shed some tears (in his own words). Gengis Kahn was no more than murderous thug who invented perhaps the first ponzi scheme: He would take a handfull of warriors to a village and pillage all of their goods and tell the males to join his clan or die. Then he would have more warriors to attack the next larger village until he had an army of hundreds of thousands where he attacked major cities. Once his army got too large to manage, his successors lost hold and the scheme fell apart.
Retired nightclub performer/computer technician, I now teach hula and ukulele to seniors, and record Hawaiian music for my halau!
This is not the first Audible book about Genghis Khan I have purchased and read. The other one was very interesting, and I am so glad I bought it first. Keep in mind, I am smiling while I write this because of the irony of the thing. if I had bought this book first, I would never, ever have revisited Genghis again. This book, however accurate it may be, is the bloodiest, most graphic description of horror upon horror inflicted on the world population by a single human being.
I did not realize that Genghis Khan's era was in the 12th-13th centuries. That's fairly recent in human history. Ole Genghis started out in Mongolia and eventually marched himself right across Russia right on to Europe's doorstep. According to Weatherford, he was a despot and enjoyed subjugating Christians, Jews, and anyone else he took a disliking to. Geez, where was the plague when we needed it?
Jack Weatherford tells the story of this cruel and inhumane ruler well -- almost too well, as a matter of fact. I suppose I could have gone on with my peripheral knowledge of the man and left it at that, but now, I think Genghis was much, much worse than Hitler. I am of the mind that every monument to him should be bulldozed, every history book should be expunged and humanity should go onward without being reminded that such a being ever existed.
If you like gore and like to read about human misery, by all means get this book! The narrator is great. He drops all this vileness in your lap like he's describing a picnic in the park. I should like to hear him read something not quite so ghastly. There is a lot of animation in his voice. He's good,
In closing, I can't say I didn't like the book. I learned a lot listening to it. You know, some things are hard to hear, but there is a message in there somewhere. I hope that future generations never fall into the mindless hopelessness of a creature like Genghis. Maybe reading stuff like this will scare us enough to keep that from happening,
Enlightening, Engaging, Informative
The story of Genghis Khan and his descendants was eye opening and informative. I learned so much. And the story was so well written it was a pleasure to hit the play button
There were no characters per se. But I think Genghis and his wife were the most interesting
The greatest general you know nothing about
If you are at all curious about this subject matter. Download this book.
I would say the audible would be much better simply because of it length.
Genghis - who else. Many of the women discussed in the book surpristed me because of the roles they played in the Mongolean culture and politics..
I had a kind of "aha" reaction when reading about his open mind concerning the religions of both his friends and enemies.
It always amazes me that we in the West forget about the Mongols and what they accomplislished. His attitude concerning the various religions was amazing and, I am sure, help him control those he conquered. There did not seem to be any real religious rebellions. I think we could learn from this.