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The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire | [Jack Weatherford]

The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire

The Mongol queens of the 13th century ruled the largest empire the world has ever known. Yet sometime near the end of the century, censors cut a section from The Secret History of the Mongols, leaving a single tantalizing quote from Genghis Khan: “Let us reward our female offspring.” Only this hint of a father’s legacy for his daughters remained of a much larger story.
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Publisher's Summary

The Mongol queens of the 13th century ruled the largest empire the world has ever known. Yet sometime near the end of the century, censors cut a section from The Secret History of the Mongols, leaving a single tantalizing quote from Genghis Khan: “Let us reward our female offspring.” Only this hint of a father��s legacy for his daughters remained of a much larger story.

The queens of the Silk Route turned their father’s conquests into the world’s first truly international empire, fostering trade, education, and religion throughout their territories and creating an economic system that stretched from the Pacific to the Mediterranean. Outlandish stories of these powerful queens trickled out of the Empire, shocking the citizens of Europe and and the Islamic world.

After Genghis Khan’s death in 1227, conflicts erupted between his daughters and his daughters-in-law; what began as a war between powerful women soon became a war against women in power as brother turned against sister, son against mother. At the end of this epic struggle, the dynasty of the Mongol queens had seemingly been extinguished forever, as even their names were erased from the historical record.

One of the most unusual and important warrior queens of history arose to avenge the wrongs, rescue the tattered shreds of the Mongol Empire, and restore order to a shattered world. Putting on her quiver and picking up her bow, Queen Mandhuhai led her soldiers through victory after victory. In her 30s she married a 17-year-old prince, and she bore eight children in the midst of a career spent fighting the Ming Dynasty of China on one side and a series of Muslim warlords on the other. Her unprecedented success on the battlefield provoked the Chinese into the most frantic and expensive phase of wall building in history. Charging into battle even while pregnant, she fought to reassemble the Mongol Nation of Genghis Khan and to preserve it for her own children to rule in peace.

At the conclusion of his magnificently researched and ground-breaking narrative, Weatherford notes that, despite their mystery and the efforts to erase them from our collective memory, the deeds of these Mongol queens inspired great artists from Chaucer and Milton to Goethe and Puccini, and so their stories live on today. With The Secret History of the Mongol Queens, Jack Weatherford restores the queens’ missing chapter to the annals of history.

©2010 Jack Weatherford (P)2010 Random House

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  •  
    Kimberley Woodbridge, NJ, United States 08-07-10
    Kimberley Woodbridge, NJ, United States 08-07-10 Member Since 2004
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    "Amazing History"

    Who would have thought that Genghis Khan was a feminist? He set up his Empire to be ruled by his female as well as his male descendants. Although much of the documents recording this were redacted, enough remains to establish the legacy of powerful women protecting and reclaiming his empire.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawn Los Angeles, CA, United States 08-09-10
    Shawn Los Angeles, CA, United States 08-09-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Another Great Book"

    Another GREAT book by Jack Weatherford about the Mongols. I was amazed by the amount of info givin in this book & in a manner that made it digestable & entertaining. The number of people from history that are unknown to us even if they had as large an impact as many in this book is mind blowing. 5stars

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 10-02-10
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 10-02-10 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "Mongol Queens"

    I read the first book on Genghis Khan and now on the Mongol Queens. This is a good book all women should read this and find out how much more freedom the women had under the Mongol rule compared to Islam and in Europe. The long term effects of the Mongol was very interesting. The information provided in this book gives a different view of history compared to the standard European view we were taught in school. So much new information has been discovered recently. Great history told in an interesting fashion.

    20 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Cuyahoga Falls, OH, United States 06-20-12
    Nancy Cuyahoga Falls, OH, United States 06-20-12 Member Since 2002
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    "Great listen"

    Another great history book that widens my global view. I didn't know anything about this era and was impressed with the culture of the Mongols and the women in this story. I will be reading more from this author.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janine Singapore, Singapore 09-17-12
    Janine Singapore, Singapore 09-17-12
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    "An outstanding "read""
    What made the experience of listening to The Secret History of the Mongol Queens the most enjoyable?

    Robertson Dean took an excellent story, filled with "strange" names and far off places, and made it come alive.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Secret History of the Mongol Queens?

    The part where Queen Manduhai falls off her horse when heavily pregnant and her warriors create a human wall and save her.


    Which character – as performed by Robertson Dean – was your favorite?

    The insights into an ancient culture and ways was my favourite aspect of the book.


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

    The part where Queen Manduhai falls off her horse when heavily pregnant and her warriors create a human wall and save her.


    Any additional comments?

    Well worth listening to.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joan YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY, United States 12-12-13
    joan YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY, United States 12-12-13 Member Since 2006

    71 year old avid reader using either my eyes or ears. I make earrings that I donate to shelters and while I work, I listen to wonderful books. I also keep in mind that you have to kiss frogs to find princes - time's too short to bother with losers.

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    "The first one is better"

    I read his Genghis Khan bio and loved it. This one is a bit too "factual" without the glimpses of the people's smaller activities. Maybe the scope was too big and he should have singled out fewer women to profile.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus Upper Ferntree Gully, Australia 04-05-14
    Marcus Upper Ferntree Gully, Australia 04-05-14 Member Since 2012
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    "If you can manage a yurt you can rule an empire"

    If you are looking for a different type of feminism in a much harsher world then this is the book for you. I love being surprised when I read or listen to books about other cultures and discovering the extent of female power in the mongol world was certainly that. I really enjoyed the basic job description for any prince who married into Genghis Khan's family. Well written and very well read my only complaint was that I wanted more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hasmi Banff, Alberta, Canada 09-26-13
    Hasmi Banff, Alberta, Canada 09-26-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Absolutely Brilliant!"
    What did you love best about The Secret History of the Mongol Queens?

    Beautifully written, lyrical, fascinating, engaging.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    All of them. The Mongol Queens were all incredibly fascinating. Weatherford writes about the time of each queen so clearly that you marvel at what each one accomplished.


    Have you listened to any of Robertson Dean’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Great.


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

    Too many. The writing is so beautiful - this book felt like it was a love story written to those ignored and maligned Mongol Queens. Their stories are incredible - some warriors, some dedicated mothers, some both, some neither but all of them are completely fascinating.


    Any additional comments?

    I just couldn't believe their stories. At the end (spoiler alert sort-of) Weatherford explains how he got into the story of The Mongol Queens and how the mystery of these women, found in fragments of text, or their names eliminated from those texts, captured his imagination and pulled him further and further into the past. I felt as he did - their stories were incredible and Jack Weatherford brings them to life beautifully.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Heather
    Forneth, Perthshire
    10/26/10
    Overall
    "Scholarly, interesting view"

    I enjoyed it - it provides a new view of a society considered male dominated. Poor old Ghengis had a whole bunch of useless sons, but some pretty canny daughters. This history is constructed from fragments and folklore, but it hangs together nicely.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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