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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World | [Jack Weatherford]

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.
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Publisher's Summary

The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

Vastly more progressive than his European or Asian counterparts, Genghis Khan abolished torture, granted universal religious freedom, and smashed feudal systems of aristocratic privilege. From the story of his rise through the tribal culture to the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed, this brilliant work of revisionist history is nothing less than the epic story of how the modern world was made.

Listen to An Interview with Author Jack Weatherford.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2005 Jack Weatherford (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"With appreciative descriptions of the sometimes tender tyrant, this chronicle supplies just enough personal and world history to satisfy any reader." (Publishers Weekly)

"There is very little time for reading in my new job. But of the few books I've read, my favourite is Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford. It's a fascinating book portraying Genghis Khan in a totally new light. It shows that he was a great secular leader, among other things." (Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India)

"Weatherford's admiration for Genghis and his firsthand knowledge of many of the sites important in Mongol history give this text an immediacy and a visual quality that are enhanced by Davis’s presentation. When the narrative begins to lag in its final hour or two as it moves farther from the twelfth century, Davis's crisp pace maintains the listener’s interest to the end. An informative and provocative work of popular history." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Peter Sparks, MD, USA 03-05-10
    Peter Sparks, MD, USA 03-05-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."

    What a comprehensive and fascinating detailed history of the great Khans. Weatherford's mastery as a researcher is on full display and is truly up to the task of investigating and sharing the incredible evidence he witnessed being uncovered. The performance is also brilliant. Just to hear the reader pronounce so many names which are difficult to pronounce and read in English with so much confidence, clarity, precision and consistency is worth the price of admission alone. To me this book is a high water mark for its combination of content, performance and new information. Its an instant classic highly recommended. Flawless.

    74 of 75 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renee Tucson, AZ, United States 03-17-10
    Renee Tucson, AZ, United States 03-17-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A passionate, eye-opening chunk of history"

    The writer, Weatherford, is not what you'd call a great prose stylist, but the story he tells is stunning, and he did all the leg-work. His heart is in it. If you want to know how the modern world was born, listen to this.

    Davis' narration is thrilling. Loved it all.

    58 of 59 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 03-21-10
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 03-21-10 Member Since 2015

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic"

    Western histories tend to avoid this bit - this book fixes that big time. It is a history, but with about as much characterization as is possible. It is filled with details and I learned a lot and enjoyed every minute. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in history. The story is filled with action and intrigue, technology and religion, war and even a little peace. It is more than just the novelty that makes this a wonderful listen, it is the story and the characters.

    97 of 100 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 06-01-10
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 06-01-10 Member Since 2015

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Classic"

    Tolerant, wise, enlightened, brilliant outside of war... hardly adjectives to describe the historical figure we have come to know as Genghis Khan. Yet this is only the surface of the positive attributes described by Jack Weatherford. Genghis Khan was one who lived in the 12th century but had so much to contribute to the modern world it is really quite unbelievable. Genghis Khan’s people came from within tribes to successfully govern over and administer to a land-mass of cities, states and countries greater than no other in history.

    I was brought up on black and white TV watching cowboys and Indians. Like everyone else of my generation, we were taught the Indians were savage and barbaric... not too unlike what we are taught about the Mongolian people. Perhaps there have been others but this was my first read revisionist history to lend some balance about another tribe of People who have been so long persecuted even to this day.

    For me the book had just enough about the military campaigns to reveal that aspect of of Genghis Kahn without overshadowing all of his contributions and what exactly the entire world was like back then. The book is so relevant for today’s world. This is a book about history, literature, religion, philosophy and of course cultural anthropology. The balance of all things in this book were exquisite.

    For me this was an incredible book, scholarly written and beautifully narrated.

    48 of 51 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Encinitas, CA, United States 05-10-10
    Andrew Encinitas, CA, United States 05-10-10
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    "Chills"

    I listen to audiobooks commuting to and from work and until Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World never had listened to one that actually kept me in the car for longer than necessary. I'd be idling for extended time while it got later and later listening to this incredible work.

    The narration is great and the story is spellbinding. I bought the book on a whim and have no regrets.

    The first half is much better than the second half, but I enjoyed the story immensely from start to finish and highly recommend.

    43 of 46 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara San Rafael, United States Minor Outlying Islands 08-02-11
    Barbara San Rafael, United States Minor Outlying Islands 08-02-11
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    "Fantastic!"

    I got this audiobook because it won a best listen award and I figured, what did I have to lose? I was not disappointed. I am now a self-proclaimed Ghengis Kahn-aphile. It was a fantastic gym/work/commute listen. I have recommended it to pretty much anyone who will listen to me ramble on about how much of what we have accomplished and take for granted in our modern world actually originated centuries ago from the vision, actions, and genius of one (what we would call uneducated) man. I have even downloaded this audiobook to my dad's iPod, for which as far as I'm concerned, is the reason we have iPods. It's not every day you come across something that changes and enlightens your perspective of the world you live in and I thank Mr. Weatherford for compiling this compelling biography of this mysterious man. I think I may press play and listen to it again right now.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 12-11-13
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 12-11-13 Member Since 2012

    Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Golden Horde/Platinum Listen"

    Universal free education. Widespread literacy. Secular government. Freedom of religion. Ambassadors from other countries. Translators and interpreters. Diplomatic immunity. A consumer-driven economy. Free trade agreements. Huge technological advances in communications. Paper money based on precious metals and gem reserves. Pensions for military veterans, and lifelong benefits for survivors of those killed in action. Support for scholars. Doctors and lawyers. Laws that applied equally to the rulers as well as the ruled. A Supreme Court. Meticulous record keeping, using complex mathematics and calculators. Multiculturalism. An empire bigger than North and Central America, combined.

    The Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan and his grandson, Kubla Khan - and lesser known Great Khans - was astonishingly advanced, especially in contrast to Europe, which at the time, was mired in futile attempts - The Crusades - to 'free' the Holy Lands from Muslims.

    I knew that Genghis Khan was an innovative military leader who both invented and eschewed conventional warfare. Genghis Khan created the "decimal" system of soldiers of 10 soldiers to a 'squad', which is still used in modern military. A 'company' was 10 squads; a battalion was 10 'companies' . . . and so on. The term "decimal" is author Jack Weatherford's term; the other terms are mine, analogizing to modern military organizational structure. At the same time, Genghis Khan used innovative military weapons - including gun powder - and improved on existing weapons. His tactics - like waging war on multiple fronts, feinting defeat, and skilled infiltrators - are common today, but unique 900 years ago. Psychological warfare was a key part of Genghis Khan's military success - he encouraged stories of Mongol brutality and ruthlessness to encourage surrender.

    Until I listened to Weatherford's "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World" (2004), I had no idea who Genghis Khan was, beyond his military skill. I spent a good part of the book wondering why, with advanced courses in European, Chinese and Russian history, I had essentially missed a crucial empire. In the Afterward, I found out: I am too old.

    During China's Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) a Chinese/Mongolian version of "The Secret History of the Mongols" (~1240, author unknown) was used to teach Chinese scholars the Mongolian language. It gradually stopped being used, and by the 19th century, there were very few copies. The first definitive English translation was Harvard-Yenching Institute's translation (Francis Woodman Cleaves, 1982). Urgunge Onon's 2001 translation is much more readable. Both are scholarly, often cited works. From 1924 to 1990, the Soviet Union controlled Mongolia and did its best to eradicate evidence of other civilizations, and kept the rest of the world from the country. Exactly who Genghis Khan was, how the Mongol Empire started, and how it thrived was hidden for almost 700 years.

    Weatherford's "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World" opened a new civilization and a new perspective for me. Definitely worth the listen.

    [If this review helped please press YES. Thanks!]

    103 of 113 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Gosford, NSW, Australia 03-27-10
    Michael Gosford, NSW, Australia 03-27-10 Member Since 2011
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    "Superb History"

    This book was extremely interesting and informative. It filled in the missing gaps of my personal history knowledge. The style is fluid and easy to follow and the reader has a very pleasant and soothing voice.
    Fantastic read or listen. Highly recommend.

    45 of 49 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Lee California 06-01-12
    J. Lee California 06-01-12 Member Since 2013

    Husband, father, building contractor, inventor and audio book lover.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stunning News! Great story."

    It is hard to believe that we were taught so little about such a major part of our worlds history. I guess that can be partly attributed to the fear that the powers had of even the story of such a man as Genghis Khan. I loved every minute of this book. It reads more like a novel than history. I hope that this will filter down into our education system as it is important to know the hands that shaped our world into what it is today. Genghis Khan was one of the most influential of those hands. Excellent book. Highly recommended.

    26 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Round Rock, TX, USA 03-11-10
    Robert Round Rock, TX, USA 03-11-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You need to read this book."

    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.

    55 of 61 people found this review helpful
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  • Simone
    CambridgeUnited Kingdom
    6/30/10
    Overall
    "Amazing! Wonderful! Couldn't get enough!"

    I stumbled onto this one by chance, and quickly grew to love it -- who'd ever know that much about the Mongols and how they changed the world? Years of research have gone into this book, and it shows. The 'Secret History', an original Mongol document about Gengis Khan's life, only became available for researchers quite recently, so there is now a wealth of brand new information. Many surprises, many really astonishing facts are waiting for the listener! The prose is at the right pace, not patronizing, not too scientific. One can also feel how much the author simply loves Mongolia... Good reader too. I simply couldn't get enough and was thirsting for more when it was over. I am now going to read his other books...

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Philip Heydebreck
    1/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Liked it so much I didn't want it to end"
    Would you listen to Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World again? Why?

    I actually already did start to listen to it again. This book is so packed full of interesting stories and information, I found it hard to retain them all from one listen.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World?

    I never thought a history book would keep me so entertained and interested. This one certainely did, the story of Gengis Kahn and his sucessors is told so well it almost reads like a novel. I loved the way this book changed my understanding of world history, illustrating the impact of the mongol empire on the world.


    What about Jack Weatherford and Jonathan Davis ’s performance did you like?

    Despite being packed with historical information, place names, dates and significant people, this book does not read like a history book at all. The story flows incredibly well and keeps you coming back for more. The reader has a voice that is very nice to listen to, becomes noticable when the reader changes for the afteroword.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I wouldn't say "moved" but I did get excited about this book and recommended it to friends and family.


    Any additional comments?

    The ultimate measure of a non-fiction book must be if it changes the way you think and see the world. This one absolutely changed my understanding of history.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A new outlook towards the traditional history"
    If you could sum up Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World in three words, what would they be?

    A very important part of the history spanning for 4-5 decades and influencing every aspect of modern civilisation. Very little credit has been given to this and very few books available in english.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Genghis Khan and Kubel Khan and their regime.


    What about Jack Weatherford and Jonathan Davis ’s performance did you like?

    Excellent piece of work, highlighting religious tolerance and meritocracy propagated by Genghis khan.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Must read for everyone as. The book changes the outlook towards history and makes you think before accepting anybody view of the history in the future.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Nicholas Bennett
    Caernarfon, Gwynedd United Kingdom
    8/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Highly recommended"

    Fantastic book, very well researched and balanced. An essential read to all people interested in world history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • David
    KILMACOLM, United Kingdom
    7/29/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Steadfastly boring"

    Very repetitive and factually inventive.
    Overall impression being a futile attempt to make a factual history out of myth .
    Poor

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Y. Syed
    Somewhere in Internet Land
    6/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An excellent and honest account"

    Learned a great deal from this.
    So much about this period was completely unknown to me; it is great to fill in a few of the gaps.
    My views on both Genghis Khan and the Mongols has changed, greatly.
    Looking forward to reading more around this subject.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mukesh
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    6/5/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book"

    I really did not know much about Genghis Khan and this book was brilliant in teaching me something. The narrator was so impressive. It is one of the best books that I have listened to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bookworm007
    5/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enlightening"
    What did you like most about Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World?

    An eye opening history. Contrary to the popular mythology Genghis Khan succeeded through marshalling trade, multiculturalism and meritocracy. His attitudes to social justice, law and religious freedom put his contemporary Christian 'civilisations' to shame.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    .


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    4/27/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good but only half of it useful"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I bought this book wanting to learn about Genghis Khan. Unfortunately only the first half of the book discusses him and the second part is about Kubel Khan and other leaders. I was disappointed the first half was not longer as this is what I wanted to read about. I feel this is not made clear in the book description.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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