The product of decades of individual and team research, this history of Genghis Khan and the Mongol influence is a marvelous work. It is a major contribution to perspective on the development of western as well as eastern culture.
It was incredible to learn the influence that the Mongols had on the modern world. It certainly didn't form part of our history curriculum at school!
Former Marine 4321, former State Department public diplomacy officer. Current USAF Public Affairs Specialist
I bought this audiobook mainly because it is a story my Chinese-born husband knew well and I thought we could listen to it together to help his English. As soon as we started listening to it, I was hooked. The story has a lot of the elements of a great Disney children's classic, but this is clearly am adult read as it's deep and detailed. Nonetheless, the has the advantages of adventure and intrigue -- a great narrative.
It's what a wonderful book should be -- a distraction from daily life that transports me to another world, but this one has the advantage of doing two things at once -- educating me and entertaining me.
Anyone with even a passing interest in world history or sociology or the spread of human society and technology will find this book very informative. Having a western education myself, I remember wondering why and how before Mongol rule, the difference between east and west were so large and then afterwards, how the west raced ahead. The teacher talked about the Renaissance but not how or why it started and who was mostly responsible for it. Very well written, easy to understand. I've listened to it twice!
I think this book should be a supplement to history classes in the west.
Nonfiction is not usually my choice for drive time, too much focus required. But this book did not require focus, it absolutely consumed me. History I never knew was there. I had no idea the innovator GK was, nor his influence on so many aspects of civilization in general. Jack Weatherford is a superb writer, bringing life and visuals to each moment; Jonathan Davis is exquisite, always one of my preferred readers (or narrators?). Will definitely listen to this one again, and will likely give as gifts.
Love to read, and Audible has made the two-hour daily commute enjoyable!
The name Genghis Khan brings to mind murdering Mongolian hordes. This book examines who Genghis Khan was, and the changes to civilization resulting from him and his descendants. Perhaps it is revisionist history, but nevertheless, I different way to look at how civilization grew, and the part Genghis Khan played.
Divided in three parts, the first is Genghis Khan, than his four sons and their descendants, and finally their place in history and impact of communism on the Mongol people and the research into this era.
The book is written lively and I learned new things about civilization and the fall of this empire because of the plague. Most interesting to me was Khan's tolerance of religion and how he would adopt advances in one region and because he didn't restrict because of religious reasons, took that advancement to other areas he conquered.
Really enjoyed the audio book - except they put the author's comments at the end of the audiobook - if it had been earlier, I would have made a point to use the reference materials while reading.
Weatherford should write a book just about the adventure of researching this book - that would be fascinating.
There was a point, rather early on, when I regretted my decision to listen to this audio book...but I am very glad I didn't give up so easily. The first half deals with Genghis Khan and his biography, which is interesting in itself. In fact, I was sad when it ended and wondered what could possibly follow that would be so interesting...but the second half deals with the aftermath of his death and his descendents, most notably Kubla Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, who was a fascinating mega-personality in his own right. By the end, I had learned a lot of history without really trying, and have a much greater understanding of events in 'ancient history' that had sailed right over my head in high school. Jack Weatherford brings the era of the great Khans to life with exhaustive research and events chock full of surprise, intrigue and detail. One of the best parts is the epilogue - the short story of the years of research for this book, and how it affected the author and others who were closely involved. Ghegis Khan and the Making of the Modern World is one of those books that sticks to your ribs long after it ends.
After visiting Mongolia, and seeing the adoration paid to Chinggis Khaan's statue at the parliament building, I became especially curious to learn about who inspired that great, bronze figure.
This book has been an excellent biography to listen to. I got through the first half (this recording is broken into two) in nearly a single sitting. The performance is transparent -- in that, Jonathan Davis never comes across as self-conscious or self-indulgent; simply a straight reading with enough intonation to feel natural without drawing attention to itself.
Jack Weatherford spins a captivating tale that never drags or drones. There is never a superfluous detail -- if anything, I crave more, but that may be due to having personally visited the country and been deeply affected by its character.
This is an excellent book for those interested in either history or a good story, and those deeply interested in hearing a tale about Mongolia.
Very interesting decription of life in Asia during the 13th century. I had no idea of the area that Genghis Khan and the Mongols controled or of the many contributions they made to making of the modern world.
Very well done
An amazing book! I read it a year before I bought the audio version. The Audio version was just as amazing as the book. Finally a book that sheds light on the empire of the Khan's that takes the perspective of the Mongols and why they are perceived as they are now in moderen times.
One of my all time favorites!