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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

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  •  
    Acteon 09-03-12
    Acteon 09-03-12

    Acteon

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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".

    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.

    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).

    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.

    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).

    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?

    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
  •  
    Paula BLOOMFIELD, NM, United States 08-21-12
    Paula BLOOMFIELD, NM, United States 08-21-12 Member Since 2012
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    "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
  •  
    christopher Arkansas 08-19-12
    christopher Arkansas 08-19-12 Member Since 2017

    Just an all around awesome person.

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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
  •  
    Jonmontanavega 08-16-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Excellent - Should be read widely"

    This book illustrates the principle that not all received wisdom is correct, particularly when it comes to non-European history. Simply put, the Mongols were not the evil empire of their times (which lasts for several centuries.)

    Read or listen, enjoy and learn. Worth a credit.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen 08-09-12
    Kathleen 08-09-12
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    "Absolutely fasinating!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World to be better than the print version?

    Yes. Is a long book but very well read.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Genghis Khan


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

    Easy to hear and understand their pronunciation.


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

    Discussion of governing principles and incorporation of various aspects of each culture group they conquered.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Penelope 08-06-12
    Penelope 08-06-12
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    "Busting the Myths Around the Much-maligned Genghis"
    Where does Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book ranks in the top ten of audiobooks I've listened to so far.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The author kept is very praise-worthy research efforts in the background to the main messages of this enlightening biographical work, and never made himself the star of the investigation.


    Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis and Jack Weatherford ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


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

    No, I like periodic "reading".


    Any additional comments?

    This is the warrior as he deserves to be understood in our modern times - a man who believed in a light footprint on the earth, the rule of law, religious tolerance, and many other notions we may mistakenly think found their roots elsewhere in history - specifically the West's history.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Yarnall Frederick, MD 07-30-12
    Stephen Yarnall Frederick, MD 07-30-12 Listener Since 2009

    Dragonrider

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    "Very eye-opening!!"

    I had no idea the Mongul Empire was so vast and much more civilized than the histroy I had learned protrayed the Monguls.

    I would definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in a different perspective on Asian culture and history.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Autodidact New York 06-21-12
    Autodidact New York 06-21-12 Member Since 2008

    Library wall

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    "Fascinating little known history"
    What did you love best about Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World?

    The notion of the Mongols as a dirty band of marauders; an unfortunately rapacious blip on the screen of history was dispelled completely. I want to be a Mongol!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Genghis for his clarity of thought and his expansive view of the world. His ecumenical understanding and desire for peace, intellectual development and family ties above all.


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

    Clear strong delivery Excellent pacing


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

    I would take it from the interview..".Imagine that an illiterate slave became the leader of the modern world"


    Any additional comments?

    I think this should be required reading in public schools. Inspiring, enlightening and fascinating

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kevmoo United States 06-17-12
    kevmoo United States 06-17-12 Member Since 2015

    I live in Seattle. I write code. I listen when I'm out with the dog.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating. Will change your view of history."

    Genghis Khan was far more civilized than most Europeans of his age. He was just a much better military strategist.

    Essential for a non-Eurocentric view of world history.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 03-26-12
    Richard 03-26-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A Revisionist History of the Mongols"
    What made the experience of listening to Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World the most enjoyable?

    Jack Weatherford carefully researched Genghis Khan from the perspective of the Mongols. His revisionist history crediting Genghis for separation of Church and State, Diplomacy and the birth of the Renaissance seems to take the historical narritive too far. Having said that, the conventional depiction of the Mongol empire as a ravishing dark chaotic evil hoard needed poking. A very compelling narrative that reads like a novel. The truth is more compelling than fiction. Great read


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • 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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