Genghis Khan was not who you think. At least, he wasn't who *I* thought he was.
I was unaware of most of the historical and cultural facts presented in this book, and found them fascinating. The book spends too much time detailing tortures and killings for my taste, but otherwise I found it entertaining and educational in a good way. The reader was a bit too dry for my taste, droning on about "forest products" like the narrator of a classroom geography film from the mid-1960s. But he wasn't a deal-killer, and the history was interesting enough for me to stick with it all the way through.
I sure can't echo the positive reviews on this book. The first half of the book is about the life of Genghis Khan, himself. That was moderately interesting (but not great).
It's the second half of the book where this falls apart. The second half deals with the aftermath of Genghis Khan's death. The author tries to cover a huge swath of history in too brief a fashion. It's like reading the Cliff Notes of a history book.
I gave up about 1/3 through the second half and didn't even finish!
As others have noted, the story is dramatic, the writing great, the narrative well done. (Some scholars and critics have questioned the overall perspective, but there's no serious question about the scholarship.)
My concern is with the organization of the audio. The "introduction" to the paper book appears as an "afterword" in the audio, at the end of the reading. This is a MAJOR flaw, because the introduction explains much about how the author can know things about Genghis Khan, particularly the history of something called "The Secret History." After my wife and I had listened to the first hour or two, we were thoroughly confused about the references to The Secret History. We finally stopped at a bookstore, looked at the paper book, and discovered the introduction. Only when I got to the end of the audio did I find the paper "introduction" added as an "afterword."
I like autumn night times. Curtains drawn. The dim lamp. Chaired with a book. Fireside hours. A warm peace.
The beginning starts out fairly interesting. It highlights the more interesting aspects of the Genghis Khan (GK) history, however, the writing seems to blend together in the second half. While approaching the end of the book, the author's language seemed as though he was running out of things to say and just decided mix in "the modern world" hence the title. He points out an obvious fact, one thing leads to another. Yes, GK did have a huge influence on Central Asian culture, but so did many other rulers that came before him as well. (i.e. Alexander the Great) It seemed as though the further I got into the book, the more I realized that it's a BASIC (although interesting) history lesson on GK.
Unlike some other reviewers who raved about this, I can't say that I "couldn't put this book down" or it's "a superb piece of writing." After completing this, I will say that I know much more NOW about GK & the Mongols than BEFORE. That's what I took away from it, which is better than not learning anything at all. Overall: Not bad, but nothing spectacular either.
The first half is a fine history of Ghengis Khan and the birth and development of the Mongol empire. The second half of the book takes place after Genghis' death, and covers the Mongol empire's rise and fall.
So we get half a book of perfectly good history and biography, and half a book of sometimes disjointed and murky history and biography.
It isn't just the subject matter that changes at the half-way point; it's the style and the detail that fall off abruptly. The first half is full of specific detail explained clearly, and the second half is full of specific detail that isn't told well or explained well at all. This leads to long sections of details and place names and people's names that don't seem connected to any theme or purpose.
One of the main points of the book is how the Mongol Empire set the tone and structure for so much in the modern world. But this point is really only made in the final few chapters, and the point is not made so well. The impact of the Mongol empire on the modern world is not a theme woven throughout the book, but is instead presented as a summary at the end.
I picked up this book on one of Audible's sales, and I'd say it was worth the $6 I think I paid for it. But it wouldn't be worth any more than that to me. A good book, but not great.
Found nothing wrong with it, typical desire for more facing good work
Conections to the black plague
the skew of personal opinion .. tone of voice, etc.. opinions of topic.. from one more than likely more engrossed in the topic
mostly data with a few smirks
I'd like more referencial data.. maps.. charts.. diagrams of innovations used.. standards knots of the cultures.. stitching patterns.. etc.. yada yada ;)
Telecommuter living outside of San Francisco, CA. I listen to books while walking my dog, quilting, and doing chores around the house.
I started this book and just can't get into it. May try again another time, but it's pretty boring so far
I love to read
The impact of Genghis Khan on modern bureaucracies, legal systems, military strategy, and etc. is astounding, but this history, which follows the pattern "In 1324 this happened. Then, in 1325 the next thing happened….and then, in 1326" doesn't do justice to the story, which is mostly rehashed from a single source. Hard to recommend this one, even though the subject amazes.
I thought the story of Genghis Khan was fascinating. The reputation of this man really does not do justice to his life I never would have thought that this
It was uninteresting.
Competent, clear, straight-forward
The 1st half maybe.