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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.

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

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  • Robert
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 03-25-15

Super bias

The author's bias against organized religion is palpable and distracts from an otherwise interesting historical narrative. The Mongols were violent people. So too were many other societies.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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REVISIONIST HISTORY

Revisionist history is a speculative business; particularly when corroborating evidence is scarce and documentation is based on translation. Like the new testament’s record of Jesus’s life, “The Secret History of the Mongols” is a translation, years after Genghis Khan’s death. The original Mongolian document is missing. The only surviving written record of “The Secret History of the Mongols” is a translation by Chinese scribes. The Chinese translation is bound by the limitations of the translator’s culture.

Jack Weatherford, the author of this revisionist history recreates a credible story of Genghis Kahn’s life based on China’s translation of “The Secret History…” Weatherford, educated as an anthropologist, visits the homeland of Genghis’s birth and spends time discussing the history of Genghis with Mongol’ descendants.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Well now, this is an eye-opener!

This is not the first Audible book about Genghis Khan I have purchased and read. The other one was very interesting, and I am so glad I bought it first. Keep in mind, I am smiling while I write this because of the irony of the thing. if I had bought this book first, I would never, ever have revisited Genghis again. This book, however accurate it may be, is the bloodiest, most graphic description of horror upon horror inflicted on the world population by a single human being.
I did not realize that Genghis Khan's era was in the 12th-13th centuries. That's fairly recent in human history. Ole Genghis started out in Mongolia and eventually marched himself right across Russia right on to Europe's doorstep. According to Weatherford, he was a despot and enjoyed subjugating Christians, Jews, and anyone else he took a disliking to. Geez, where was the plague when we needed it?

Jack Weatherford tells the story of this cruel and inhumane ruler well -- almost too well, as a matter of fact. I suppose I could have gone on with my peripheral knowledge of the man and left it at that, but now, I think Genghis was much, much worse than Hitler. I am of the mind that every monument to him should be bulldozed, every history book should be expunged and humanity should go onward without being reminded that such a being ever existed.

If you like gore and like to read about human misery, by all means get this book! The narrator is great. He drops all this vileness in your lap like he's describing a picnic in the park. I should like to hear him read something not quite so ghastly. There is a lot of animation in his voice. He's good,

In closing, I can't say I didn't like the book. I learned a lot listening to it. You know, some things are hard to hear, but there is a message in there somewhere. I hope that future generations never fall into the mindless hopelessness of a creature like Genghis. Maybe reading stuff like this will scare us enough to keep that from happening,

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Best Book I've Downloaded Here

If you could sum up Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World in three words, what would they be?

Enlightening, Engaging, Informative

What did you like best about this story?

The story of Genghis Khan and his descendants was eye opening and informative. I learned so much. And the story was so well written it was a pleasure to hit the play button

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Davis and Jack Weatherford – was your favorite?

There were no characters per se. But I think Genghis and his wife were the most interesting

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The greatest general you know nothing about

Any additional comments?

If you are at all curious about this subject matter. Download this book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • APO, AE, United States
  • 12-29-12

Forgotten Past

Would you consider the audio edition of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World to be better than the print version?

I would say the audible would be much better simply because of it length.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Genghis - who else. Many of the women discussed in the book surpristed me because of the roles they played in the Mongolean culture and politics..

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

Very good.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I had a kind of "aha" reaction when reading about his open mind concerning the religions of both his friends and enemies.

Any additional comments?

It always amazes me that we in the West forget about the Mongols and what they accomplislished. His attitude concerning the various religions was amazing and, I am sure, help him control those he conquered. There did not seem to be any real religious rebellions. I think we could learn from this.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Y.
  • 09-28-12

Brilliant !!!

What a singular man !!!
Never knew Genghis Khan and the mongols pioneered many of the conventions of international trade and diplomacy we now take for granted.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • Memphis, TN, United States
  • 09-24-12

Great History, Well- Crafted

This is a big story. Jack Weatherford's research was exhaustive and required Herculean effort and persistence. To top it off, he then put it together into a great story that is well-presented here, and that remains relevant to the world that we live in. Anyone interested in history should read, or listen to, this wonderful book and enjoy the fruits of Jack's work.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A six-star book

What did you love best about Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World?

Every now and then a book comes along that provides a new perspective in which many hitherto incomprehensible or poorly understood things fall into place: these are the books to which I would like to give an extra star over and above the five that signify "excellent", "very interesting", or "highly recommended". <br/><br/>Weatherford has been taken to task for his revisionist bias and lapses in scholarship. I wish to mention that I am well aware of these objections but consider them to be of minor importance alongside the wealth of insights he brings to numerous areas of history.<br/><br/>Though not a scholar myself, I have in the course of several decades taken more than a passing interest in medieval and Renaissance art and culture, Chinese history, history of ideas and history in general. Weatherford has shed light on each of these areas.Whether all the ideas set forth in the book are correct (that is, correspond to reality) I cannot of course be sure, but they are invariably stimulating and illuminating, and in my judgment not wildly off the mark (as some pretend).<br/><br/>For instance, Weatherford has been severely criticized for crediting the Mongols with the Renaissance. Well, of COURSE the Renaissance is the revival of classical antiquity rather than an infusion of foreign elements, and Weatherford does not suggest otherwise as some seem to think: but what I had never considered was how the Mongol conquests contributed to creating the conditions in which the flowering of the late middle ages and the Renaissance took place. <br/><br/>Something else that impressed me particularly is how skillfully Kublai Khan governed China, and just what a tragedy it was that the Black Death destroyed his work and caused the collapse of the Yuan Dynasty. Though highly aware of what the Black Death did to Europe, I had not known to what extent it wreaked havoc on China in every way. Had the Yuan been able to evolve under normal circumstances, how much better off might China not have been in so many respects, from commerce and law to technology and intellectual thought to literature and art... By comparison, the consequences for Europe were relatively benign: the inevitable reactionary backlash in the second half of the 14th C. threatened but did not strangle the Renaissance that was just beginning, and Europe was thriving again by the 15th C; whereas in China, all the reforms Kublai Khan ushered in not only fell by the wayside because the conditions no longer permitted them to be implemented, but they never had a chance to revive because the Mongol collapse was followed by the extremely conservative Ming Dynasty that sought to suppress all traces of anything associated with the Mongols (from the better laws to paper money to popular theatre to public baths, even though these had already flourished under the Song).<br/><br/>Weatherford has also been criticized for whitewashing the Mongols. While he does try to mitigate the barbaric, bloodthirsty image of Genghis Khan that has such wide currency, he does not deny that the Mongols were merciless toward their enemies. What he does do is point out how in many highly significant respects Genghis Khan was morally superior to most other rulers in history: he outlawed torture at a time when it was and would continue to be practiced universally (by religious no less than secular powers), he outlawed harming emissaries (many brought about their own destruction by killing and maiming emissaries he sent), he guaranteed religious freedom, he delegated power according to merit and not birth, and he insisted on a rule of law, putting even himself as supreme ruler under the law. Each one of these was extremely rare; how many powerful rulers are there who combined them?<br/><br/>I have often noted that some of the most interesting books are written by scholars who venture beyond the confines of their field of expertise. This brings the hazard of errors, but in the best instances (such as the present book), the payoff far outweighs the lapses (I would not even mention this but for nitpicking critics).

Any additional comments?

The audiobook is compelling listening, and Jonathan Davis does a terrific job of reading.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Paula
  • BLOOMFIELD, NM, United States
  • 08-21-12

Paper Money, Pony Express, Merit Promotion, More

Would you listen to Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World again? Why?

My husband & I listen over & over. Lots of wonderful information. We have recommended it to our adult children and others.

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

They ruled China for a period and even made an unsuccessful assault on Japan.

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

It is over 14 hours. One sitting is not an option for me. But I would take it anywhere - in the car or kitchen while I was doing something. Or I would just sit and listen. It was always interesting to hear. Gengis was quite a thinker.

Any additional comments?

History can be so interesting. Why don't we teach it to the kids this way?

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Truly great.

I am not a history person and this books stands on a very short list of history books I have read. Genghis Khan was a bad a**. It moves a little quick after you get past his death, but I would highly recommend this to anyone.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful