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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World Audiobook

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

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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

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Glenn Richmond Hill, ON, Canada 12-26-10
    Glenn Richmond Hill, ON, Canada 12-26-10 Member Since 2012
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    "Eye Opening"

    If you think Genghis Khan and the Mongols were just blood thirsty savages then read this book. While it has some historical inaccuracies and biased in favor of the Mongols it is very entertaining and covers their innovations which contributed to their success. In 25 years they transitioned from scattered tribes to a dominant empire that took over more land than the Romans achieved in 400 years. What surprised me was that unlike many other cultures of their time they did not condone torture and they allowed freedom of religion. Who knows how long their empire would have continued to grow if it were not for the plague.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Charlottesville, VA, United States 12-20-10
    Lauren Charlottesville, VA, United States 12-20-10
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    "Very interesting with a great narrator."

    The material is great, and enhanced by the narration. I had no idea Genghis Khan was this interesting!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr Hunters Hill, Australia 11-08-10
    Mr Hunters Hill, Australia 11-08-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Excellent!"

    This audiobook is well worth a credit! Both the narrative and narration very well done and the book is full of very interesting details of history.

    My only criticism would be that this book talks about Genghis Khan as well as his sucessors. THe title led me to believe that this would be a book about him entirely. Also, there is little mention on the impact that he had on the Modern world, also as the title suggests. That said, I have been left with a more complete picture of the Khan Dynasty because the author wrote the book this way. These two things aside I still enjoyed the book and recommend it to all.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug 09-21-12
    Doug 09-21-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Workman-like and not really related to the title"
    What did you like best about Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World? What did you like least?

    A thorough, easy to understand biography of one of the most important figures in history. Not really very much information on the 'Making of the modern world' part. The ideals the author credits Temujin and his successors with are abstractions that come from a very idealized view of the culture.While the Mongols have an excessive reputation for brutality, they were not the noble and fair-minded people the author would have you believe either.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Jack Weatherford? Why or why not?

    No. The writing is drab and he shows incredible bias in his opinions.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Jonathan Davis and Jack Weatherford ?

    No.


    What else would you have wanted to know about Jack Weatherford’s life?

    Nothing.


    Any additional comments?

    The biography is very lop-sided and presents an incredibly biased view of all the positive things about the Mongol culture. It ignores or minimizes many of the negative aspects of their way of life.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Molly 03-22-11
    Molly 03-22-11 Member Since 2016
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    "Fascinating history but too biased"

    I really, really wanted to like this book. I tried to listen to it several times and finally, after making it through the first half, simply gave up. The author obviously has a lot of respect for what Genghis Khan achieved but that -- at least in the first half -- spills over into unchecked admiration. Perhaps that is necessary to balance the accounts after centuries of bad mouthing the Mongols' conquests and campaign, but I think it goes overboard.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Yates 09-30-16
    S. Yates 09-30-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent history, but a bit rosy-eyed"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World to be better than the print version?

    Probably equal. The only real negative is that, as of my listening, the recording had an error. The book's twelfth chapter is entitled "Afterword: The Missing Conqueror." However, in the print version of the book (both hard copy and kindle), it is "Introduction: The Missing Conqueror" and has the exact same content. The content acts as a frame for the entire book, explaining how the author came to study the Mongols, what he did to write the book, and outlines the structure of the book you are about to read. For some inexplicable reason this section, which reads like a classic introduction, has been placed at the end. It is jarring and makes zero sense. I hope audible will move it to its rightful place at the beginning of the book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the perspective it offered on the many ways that the Mongol Empire and its values permeated and changed Europe.


    Any additional comments?

    Engagingly written history of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire. The book ranges across land and time to tell a fuller and more appreciative version of Mongol history, eschewing the more common villification of Genghis Khan and his armies. The author focuses a lot on the war strategy of the Mongols, how it interacted with outiders, its willingness to allow religious tolerance and to incorporate the knowledge, skills, and industries of conquered people, and the innovative approach taken to empire management. With this focus on the broader aims of empire building and not just war (and any attendant raping and pillaging) offers the reader insight into the many ways that the Mongols shaped modern society (from trade routes to written law, to laying the groundwork for the Renaissance and Europe's adoption of a number of technologies - both industrial and war-related). The author also makes the plausible argument that but for the Black Plague, the Mongol Empire may have had continued prominence (wheras the Plague intervened and led to cities isolating themselves, thus crippling the extensive trade routes that were the lifeblood of the Empire). The major shortcoming of this mostly excellent book is that it glosses over the sheer numbers of dead and does not catalog any of the atrocities of the Mongols. This is less of a handicap since plenty of other books remain that hone in on those aspects of the Mongols and mostly ignore a more nuanced portrait, but still leaves a reader feeling that the author may have benefited from tempering his obvious esteem for the Mongols by offering a full potrait, blemishes and all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BeHave 09-29-16
    BeHave 09-29-16 Member Since 2013
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    "An eye opening book on Asian history"

    As many Americans educated in the 20th century, I was very ignorant of any Asian history, bust especially the Mongol Empire and Genghis Kahn. I had fallen trap to the beliefs that he and his mongol horde were a group of barbarians pillaging medieval Europe. I couldn't have been more wrong.
    This amazingly written book tells the very detailed story of the life of Genghis Kahn, from birth to his rise to power and the legacy his children continued. The amazing accomplishments and ideas that they had were so ahead of their time that I was ashamed of my previously held concepts of them. Not only is this a great historical text, but it is written in a way that the story is exciting and keeps you enthralled like a great novel.
    I highly recommend this to anybody who is looking to expand their knowledge, especially on the often forgotten history of the Asian continent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex 09-28-16
    Alex 09-28-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great book, moderate listen"
    Would you listen to Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World again? Why?

    I don't think I would listen to this book again. The narrator was good but just a bit dry and it caused the last half of the book to drag on a little bit.


    Did Jonathan Davis and Jack Weatherford do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    I thought they did a fine a job of differentiating the characters.


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

    The entire story is absolutely fascinating.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenny 09-22-16
    Kenny 09-22-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Great Listen and good story"
    Any additional comments?

    Very well done. Kept my interest from beginning to end.

    I didn't know much about Genghis Khan and I found this book extremely interesting. It held my attention form start to finish. Funny how perception is so different than the biography.

    The author just did a really good job with this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan A. VanderPloeg 09-20-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Good book"

    This is a solid book not spectacular but with a listen. As a westerner sometimes the history of the east is glossed over. I learned much from this book.

    0 of 0 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...

    25 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • Philip Heydebreck
    1/25/15
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    "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.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Scythian
    11/24/15
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    "A book that fully illustrates the power of history"

    This is fascinating interpretation of the history of the Mongol empire and it's Khans, particularly Genghis Khan and their influence, direct or otherwise, to the modern world, and long overdue recognition of its contribution to the modern western world.
    This, to me, illustrates the importance of history, and how from it we learn to understand more of what we have now, and could have in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this, and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in seeing the world from a different perspective.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    4/7/16
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    Story
    "The best book I may have ever read."

    Jack Weatherford actually makes you feel like you are there, unseen as you witness history unfold. I didn't know we owe so much of our modern culture and way of thinking to the Mongals. Such a terrific story. I'm quite sad now that I've finished the book.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Wras
    Kildonan
    7/21/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Serendipity is a builder of history."

    Avery interesting book with many interesting facts, and ideas, at the very end it showed the author a little too enamored with the nationalistic ideas of a mongolian empire, but it is explainable as a found respect for a people that have been maligned by history and politicians to a point that is quite surprising but understandable in a world where nationalism is the norm and for the most part the imparter of truth for the masses. This book ask us to wake up and burst the bubble of our culture, join the multiverse, the rich tapestry of human history.

    A story that adds to what is generally known and changes what is accepted by giving a new perspective.
    We learn history in sectional bits, and always as presented by the nation and culture we belong to, so as we read and learn we segment sets of ideas and ideologies of a time and place as unique examples, especially if we do not read a lot or let others explain history with a decided coloration of their point of view, this is why it is important to explore different angles of a period to get a glimpse of past that is less colored by the ideas of one person, past periods or the period you live in; morals and beliefs are not permanent or historically kind to the truth, they are tinted lenses that hide facts to promote their point, because we all live in a reality and culture that it is constantly trying to submerge us in its momentary truth.

    Many people have become absolute history masochist and blame all wrongs in the world to our western culture as if all other cultures had no consequence except as victims of our history; in reality we are but a small part of human history and our place in that history is not assured or permanent. We learn more of our history because that is the natural way to connect us to our culture, customs and laws, and because we are a culture that examines and is self critically we tend to amplify our importance and guilt, as this book will plainly demonstrate. With lessons in what an amazing people achieved with limited technology, and how time and politics have distorted their culture and history to a point of near oblivion.
    Some of their developments are still with us but silenced by time and the negation of their importance by other cultures and political interest, like the interest of the soviet union and now russia a power that has no scruples in protecting and creating a narrative convenient to its needs, by suppressing the history of the Mongols to this day, or china that has similar interest politically and historically. Also the very success of the this people of the plains still instigates a bit of fear. They subjugated Muslims, christians, buddhist, and animist while expanding in all directions, their methods of war are still relevant, and so should it be with their intense promotion of commerce among different peoples and cultures.

    Genghis Khan was but a beginning for a Mongol expansion that lasted through generations with all the ups and downs of human made plans, but maintaining enough momentum to rule a great chunk of the world.

    A non apologetic look at an empire that changed the world and is still influencing the present.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Tristan Fisher
    1/30/16
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    "An excellent history."

    Starting and focusing on the life of Genghis Khan this book manages to give a insightful look at the rise and eventual fall of the mongol empire founded by Genghis Khan.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • David Jackson
    9/18/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "simply amazing"

    I thought I knew something about the Mongol Empire. I was wrong. This book has shown me the richness of the legacy of an empire that changed the course of all of world history in infinite ways but of which my education has taught me next to nothing. I am incredibly thankful for having come across this book.

    5 of 7 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.


    6 of 9 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.

    4 of 6 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.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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