I am not a big reader of history, but this caught my eye, and I was not disappointed. The audiobook is a little bit hard to follow, in terms of the large amount of information and its organization. So, it isn't a casual, or bedtime, read (listen). That said, I would include this in my short, "must listen" list since it is such a stereotype busting book. It will change your perception of the past with lessons that clearly apply to today's world. For me it ranks up there with Sun Tzu's Art of War -- albeit a much more engaging read.
You will never think about Genghis and Kublai Khan the same way again. It turns out they were socially progressive. Seriously. A brilliantly researched eye opener. Very well read. They supported religious diversity, universal education, promotion on merit not birth, global trade, fair judicial system. This is so compellingly written I listened almost non-stop. Just a great and really thought provoking look at the history of a part of the world we don't hear enough about.
You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. —Wayne Gretzky
This book is an eye opener, to say the least. We are so used to know the history of the world from the European perspective with some, probably lots, of prejudice towards the "barbaric" tribes from the east, for them the "dark ages"never happened.
You'll probably be surprised, like me, to know that while in Europe the Church was torturing witches, the Mongols were building an empire based on trade, respecting human rights, were able to conquer in 2 years what the crusaders were not able to do in two centuries - conquer Iraq and even made some effort toward public education - IN THE 12TH CENTURY.
I recommend this book for everyone, specially those who believe in any superiority from the European culture.
Fantastic book. Very good introduction to the Mongol History. Wonderfully written, keeps you entertained, wishing that the book never ends.
The narrator also did a wonderful job.
A must read for who likes History
I have either been asleep at the switch my whole life or no one took the time to really teach me history. I had no idea that the world was anything like this book depicts. Your notion about history will change forever once you have read this fantastic book. It really is a game changer.
Interesting and certainly a different perspective than I've heard about the Mongols from the anglo-western history. I suspect the western history is biased in the negative. Weatherford does not deny the violence of those times, but does stress the positive impact the Mongol empire had on trade, technology spread and government advances.
This book goes beyond just the life of Genghis Khan (Temujin) to include the span of the Mongol empire ruled by his descendent khans. The author ends with an afterword of modern Mongol cultural impacts.
This is a good account of an amazing and misunderstood leader, I had a very weak understanding of this man and period. I believe the author carries Genghis Khan's influence on the later history of the world a tiny bit too far, but his impact was no doubt very great. The story skips over significant periods with large conquests. I'm not sure if this is due to a lack of information or an effort to keep the story from dragging. The maps (downloadable from the Audible site) help a little, but they lack essential details that would give a greater appreciation for the feats of this great leader.
I have read a lot, and few books that I have read are as good and informative as this. The author does a good job of explaining the life of Genghis Khan. But what I really liked is his summary of the history of the Mongolian empire after Genghis Khan's death, and its broader impact in world history. I also really liked the author's discussion of the way the Mongols were seen in 18th century Europe, and how that impacted the way they viewed Asians and led to eastern colonialism. I highly recommend this book.
Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.
So the book is about the dynasty established by Genghis Khan. The shocking parts of the story are how humble his origins, how historically singular his rise, how total his success, and how much he was latter unfairly vilified by Europeans, Chinese, and Middle Easterners alike.
This book fundamentally rewrote my view of the core narrative in Chinese History. Unfortunately, telling you this is likely to bring down the wrath of the “Chinese Machine”.
The book solidified a growing belief that at its core Chinese history is about the duality of the “Barbarian” and the “Mandarins”. Neither amounts to much on their own, but together they have immense potential. The Mandarins need “their” Barbarian to change their world and the Barbarian needs a team of Mandarins to get anything done, especially in Asia. It’s sort of like the relationship between an entrepreneur and a team of engineers in Silicon Valley. Chinese history complains incessantly about the barbarians, but they needed them, and appear to even secretly want their Barbarians … it’s almost kinky.
In the non-Chinese world much lip service paid to yin and yang, but mostly arising from a misunderstanding that arises from equating things that are functionally the same but are of such different magnitudes as to be different. More is different. The duality at the core of Chinese history is so vast as to be unlike the dualities in most of the rest of the world.
The other insight is that Chinese tell their history from an absurdly Mandarin-centric perspective. A more objective telling would place a succession of Barbarians at the core of the story. It’s like telling the history of Apple while arguing that Steve Jobs was not a real Apple employee and a mediocre engineer, who came and went a few too many times. This inversion is a soft lie that somehow facilitates their society.
This is the story of the greatest Chinese ever, and yet in some versions of the story he’s a Barbarian, that is, not even Chinese.
The beginning was that cross between historical story telling and greek mythology. Like a ancient saga, which is what I guess it is.
The Odyssey or Beowulf for the aforementioned reasons. It was better than that because the story turns out to be mostly true.
Where GK along with his brother decide to upsurp their mother's new husband.
The book does give a sympathetic look at Ghengis Khan and his moral vantage point vs. the old addages that he was a blood thirsty conqueror with little motivation other than bloodlust.
I loved the narrator. His voice has a close resemblance to William Shatner.