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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 (8929 )
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  •  
    Peter Sparks, MD, USA 03-05-10
    Peter Sparks, MD, USA 03-05-10
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    "Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."

    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.

    105 of 107 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 03-21-10
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 03-21-10 Member Since 2017
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    "Fantastic"

    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.

    123 of 129 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 06-01-10
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 06-01-10 Member Since 2016
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    "A Classic"

    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.

    69 of 73 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renee Tucson, AZ, United States 03-17-10
    Renee Tucson, AZ, United States 03-17-10
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    "A passionate, eye-opening chunk of history"

    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.

    72 of 77 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 12-11-13
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 12-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Golden Horde/Platinum Listen"

    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.

    [If this review helped please press YES. Thanks!]

    171 of 189 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Lee California 06-01-12
    J. Lee California 06-01-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stunning News! Great story."

    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.

    33 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Encinitas, CA, United States 05-10-10
    Andrew Encinitas, CA, United States 05-10-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Chills"

    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.

    58 of 64 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Gosford, NSW, Australia 03-27-10
    Michael Gosford, NSW, Australia 03-27-10
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    "Superb History"

    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.

    50 of 57 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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 Ann Arbor, MI, United States 02-14-13
    MidwestGeek Ann Arbor, MI, United States 02-14-13
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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.

    27 of 31 people found this review helpful

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