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.
©2005 Jack Weatherford (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"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 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.
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
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.
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.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
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.
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.
This is a book that can and should read by everyone, at least all with the slightest interest in world history. I feel this so adamantly since what it tells us does away with serious misconceptions about the Mongol Empire. It explains in a clear and comprehensible manner how the world we live in today has been improved by Mongol practices. It is stated that the book is revisionary, but I believe wholeheartedly in what we are told. It is clear and thoroughly documented. What we are told just plain makes sense! The author is a cultural anthropologist and historian.
The book begins with a discussion about the life of Genghis Khan (1162-1227), follows his successors, offering detailed information both about Kublai Khan and powerful women of the clan, discussing the formation of the Mongol nation in 1206, the squabbling that arose between the successive leaders and concludes with a convincing analysis of how the Mongol Empire has influenced today’s world.
We all think of the Mongols as barbarians that wrought havoc on the world. Few of us are aware of how they opened the world to commerce. They opened new trade routes, not only of physical goods but for the transmission of ideas and cultures. I am daunted because I cannot adequately express how this book has so changed how I view world history. I used to praise the new ideas espoused during the Enlightenment, but did you know that Voltaire drew a picture of the savage, blood-thirsty Mongols that served their own purposes and created a one-sided view that hid the truth. Chaucer praised Genghis Kahn and Marco Polo did the same for Kublai Kahn; When Christopher Columbus sailed west it was to look for Cathay, to reconnect with the fantastic trade routes established by the Mongols. I could go on and on showing how what we have been told about these so-called barbarians just doesn’t quite add up! What is explained here in this book makes sense and it changes how we understand today’s modern world.
Did you know that Genghis Kahn made the capital of his Chinese Empire present day Beijing in 1266 and that that the Forbidden City was a huge park filled with wild animals where the Mongol leaders lived in ghers/yurts? Here in this enclosed area the Mongol leaders lived according to their own Mongol traditions. They ate their traditional foods, ate with knives, which the Chinese found abhorrent, drank fermented mare’s milk and practiced their own sports and games, so foreign to the Chinese culture around them. Did you know that “hooray” is based on a Mongol expression of exuberance? Did you know that Columbus called the red-skinned natives he encountered when he landed on the islands off the American mainland Indians because he thought he had met up with the Mongols living south of the Chinese Mongols, the Mongols of India? That is why Native Americans originally were called Indians. There is so much in this book that makes sense, it is like putting together all the pieces of a puzzle and everything fits!
Kublai Kahn supported universal education with classes held in the colloquial language. Paper money was invented by the Chinese, but he saw its practicality and radically expanded its usage. Under his rule China attained its Golden Age of Drama. Medical knowledge, textile production, printing techniques, basically all areas of knowledge that were practical and useful were supported and transported to new areas around the world. Under the Mongol rule there was religious freedom. In the 1200s, think of that!
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Jonathan Davis. His pronunciation of Mongol terms is clear. The pacing is perfect. This is essential in a book of non-fiction. Along with the download one is given pdf files of maps and diagrams. One difficulty that I had, when I searched on the net for further information, was that often more than one name was used for the same person. It is also difficult to recognize Mongol names. This is easier if you can both see and hear them.
It is time that we begin to acknowledge the good things Genghis Kahn and Kublai Kahn have given us. Read this book and you will stop using the word “Mongolian” as a word of slander.
Husband, father, building contractor, inventor and audio book lover.
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.
Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."
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.
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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.
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.
"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...
"Liked it so much I didn't want it to end"
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.
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.
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.
I wouldn't say "moved" but I did get excited about this book and recommended it to friends and family.
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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
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.
"Good but only half of it useful"
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.
"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.
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.
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