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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

4.4 (8103 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Richard Cocoa, FL, USA 03-05-10
    Richard Cocoa, FL, USA 03-05-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Forget what you've been taught in the past!"

    I am not a big reader of history, but this caught my eye, and I was not disappointed. The audiobook is a little bit hard to follow, in terms of the large amount of information and its organization. So, it isn't a casual, or bedtime, read (listen). That said, I would include this in my short, "must listen" list since it is such a stereotype busting book. It will change your perception of the past with lessons that clearly apply to today's world. For me it ranks up there with Sun Tzu's Art of War -- albeit a much more engaging read.

    47 of 53 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MidwestGeek 02-14-13
    MidwestGeek 02-14-13

    Love a good mystery, but don't care much for pure thrillers.

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    "MYTHS & FLIGHTS OF FANCY as REVISIONIST HISTORY!"

    I barely started the book before being alerted to the fact that the author makes exaggerated claims that are not facts and, in the print version, provides little by way of documentation. Then, since audible makes it impossible to search reader reviews or to bin them by ratings, I turned to some of the one- and two-star reviews on amazon and goodreads by people who already know Mongol culture and history. (I did find one good one here by Mamoun on 11/23/11.) Turns out Weatherford is not a historian but a cultural anthropologist who, as a scholar, apparently committed the sin of losing objectivity and identifying with the culture that he is "studying." Since I bought this to learn history and cannot easily separate the wheat from the chaff, I choose not to fill my head with Weatherford's imaginative notions. I do know enough to recognize that the Mongols are not responsible for the European Renaissance. I'm turning this book back in for a refund.

    According to reviewers, this is a repeat of what was done earlier in his "Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World." (Indian here refers to all the native peoples of South, Central, and North America.) No doubt, they are insufficiently credited in areas of agriculture (potatoes, maize,...) and herbal medicines, and, gosh knows, they have been exploited mercilessly by their conquerers. However, given its drafters and their backgrounds, I find it difficult to believe that the "writing of the United States Constitution" owes much to Indian polity or heritage.

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Round Rock, TX, USA 03-11-10
    Robert Round Rock, TX, USA 03-11-10
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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.

    60 of 69 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Tampa, FL 04-10-13
    David Tampa, FL 04-10-13 Member Since 2013

    Love listening to books.

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    "Opinionated pseudo-history"

    Opinionated pseudo-history at best, revisionist nonsense at worst.

    Weatherford uses fragments of selectively chosen historical facts to create a view of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire that is not only benevolent, but responsible for everything that shapes the modern world. He credits them as either cause or directly responsible party for paper money, modern medicine, diplomatic immunity, the German Blitzkrieg, public education, international law, printing press, the European Renaissance, international trade, global postal mail, and more. Anything the Mongols did since Genghis is the biggest, best, or just simply the foundation of anything else in the west. As if all the positive reasons aren't enough to create a new view of the Khan, he also declares that Genghis is the reason why European's grew to hate all asians and considered them so backwards they needed European colonialism to rescue them.

    Weatherford glosses over the massive slave trade of the Mongols that was unmatched until Stalin and Mao enslaved many in their countries. He ignores the documented brutality of the Mongols, stating that they are simple exaggerations by uneducated writers years after the fact. He even states that the rapes historically described did not really happen - despite the DNA evidence (8% of Asian men, and 0.5% of worlds population).

    Bottom line is that this is more a propaganda work that Genghis Khan (who appreciated and utilized propaganda) would have happily approved of for our modern times. It reshapes this bloodthirsty leader into a model for todays world leaders. A lover of peace and commerce that sought to help everyone and protect his mother (yep, another reason given by Weatherford for Khan's conquests).

    Some may like this, but I say skip it. It doesn't qualify as history, and probably not even historical fiction. More likely fantasy.

    34 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luiz Andrade Brazil 04-11-10
    Luiz Andrade Brazil 04-11-10 Member Since 2016

    A Regular Consumer

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A New Vision of the Mongol Empire"

    Fantastic book. Very good introduction to the Mongol History. Wonderfully written, keeps you entertained, wishing that the book never ends.
    The narrator also did a wonderful job.
    A must read for who likes History

    37 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PeacefulSeeker Santa Barbara, CA United States 12-03-12
    PeacefulSeeker Santa Barbara, CA United States 12-03-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Informative and Entertaining"

    For my part a bad narration is a deal breaker. This was outstanding. Even pronunciations of names and locations. in several languages were pretty authentic. Of course some of the geographic points are not the same as they were but current regions and nations were used to keep the reader engaged.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorraine La Grande, OR, USA 03-03-10
    Lorraine La Grande, OR, USA 03-03-10
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    "Epic and spectacular...a must listen"

    All I can say is that I never realized that if you do not know and understand the history of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire you do not know or understand anything at all about human history. Period. Absolutely stunning!

    34 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mamoun Chebib Montreal 11-23-11
    Mamoun Chebib Montreal 11-23-11 Member Since 2016
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    "An interesting insight, but outrageous analysis"

    Initially, I enjoyed the narration of the life of Genghis Khan, which appeared factual, although not well documented, relying on just a handful of references and sources. It confirmed my preconceived opinion of Genghis Khan, and particularly of his immediate descendents as a savage horde. The author states that they massacres over 35 million people, destroyed agriculture, irrigation, and cities, burned libraries and looted all civilisations in their path, with the sole purpose of conquest and plunder. Ingenious conquerors they certailny were, but certainly nothing more.

    The author's later attempts later to potray the Mongols in a favourable light appeared to me as laughable drivel. His claims that they were at the root of the renaissance stretch the limits of logic to the breaking point. He discounted all the historic accounts of academicians and scholars (Voltaire was a "revisionist" historian), giving more credence to the so-called "praise" of Genghis Khan, in The Canterbury Tales, a witty farce by all standards.

    The structure of the book, particulary toward the end, left me puzzled. A full hour of epilogue and after-word that produced nothing but repetition of incidents in the main narrative, in a series of cheap clichés.

    Maybe I was disappointed because I had read the book immediately after some great histories by Churchill and Roberts, and was expecting an intelligent and objective treatment of the Mongol era.That I did not get. I could not wait to finish the book, particularly the last thirty minutes or so, so I could throw it away.

    50 of 60 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 10-31-10
    Jacobus Johannesburg, South Africa 10-31-10 Member Since 2013

    When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very Insightful, time break with Western Hubris"

    The story of Genghis Khan is not so well-known as other parts of history. Jack Weatherford did us a tremendous service by seeking the man behind the myth. He made the customs of the Mongols easy to understand, ensured heartfelt empathy with the Khan and showed the influence of the Mongols on the whole world. Just to think that paper money, cannons and firearms are part of this nation's gift to humankind!

    I thought Jonathan Davis did an excellent job of narrating this book. I didn't opt out while listening.

    This book comes highly recommended, especially to those who love history and biographical works. The book is a bit of both.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Franco R Glencoe, MN United States 09-23-10
    Franco R Glencoe, MN United States 09-23-10 Listener Since 2010
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    "Amazing Discovery!"

    To think that this information has only come together in the past couple of decades, what an amazing eye opener to the influence and impact that the Mongols had on shaping the west and the whole world. So many missing pieces here on my fascination with Europe’s history, this is a must read. Excellent narration, astonishing material, amazing discovery.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
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  • Simone Teufel
    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...

    29 of 33 people found this review helpful
  • Philip vH
    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.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • KAROLINA R.
    9/9/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "like a great story"

    the book is like a great story, chronologically organised, easy to follow, full of interesting bits of info. I recommend it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dave
    8/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "well worth your time. great"

    love it got a far greater no about them than before I listen to this

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Omotola Alade
    8/6/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "amazing story"

    this was a great telling of genghis khan who was a man that stood up to injustices of the class system in his society and invested in meritocracy. i think the taking over the world goal was intended by him only later but he was very intent on righting wrongs and preserving their way of life but through in intended consequences he changed mongolia and the rest of the world forever.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Asif Mohammed
    8/2/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "gives a totally new perspective on the mongols "

    makes you think if the empire remained intact how much more could have civilisation advanced

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • P. Sleet
    6/9/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World to be better than the print version?

    Yes, active narration adds colour and allows the listener space to imagine and digress whilst the related material unfolds.


    What other book might you compare Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World to, and why?

    "The rise and fall of the Roman Empire", is also about civilisation changing events


    Any additional comments?

    Mongols and Tyranny are usually negative attributes in modern contexts. However, after listening to this book it is clear that the modern world owes so much to the developments brought to the fore by the Mongols. This book presents both sides and adds contextual balance, In some ways the vision of the dynasty of Genghis Khan for "one world" under one law gives Xanadu a whole new meaning.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Scythian
    11/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    8 of 10 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.

    7 of 9 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.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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