Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

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“Without the vision of a goal, a man cannot manage his own life, much less the lives of others.” -Genghis Khan

The name Genghis Khan often conjures the image of a relentless, bloodthirsty barbarian on horseback leading a ruthless band of nomadic warriors in the looting of the civilized world. But the surprising truth is that Genghis Khan was a visionary leader whose conquests joined backward Europe with the flourishing cultures of Asia to trigger a global awakening, an unprecedented explosion of technologies, trade, and ideas. In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford, the only Western scholar ever to be allowed into the Mongols’ “Great Taboo”—Genghis Khan’s homeland and forbidden burial site—tracks the astonishing story of Genghis Khan and his descendants, and their conquest and transformation of the world.

Fighting his way to power on the remote steppes of Mongolia, Genghis Khan developed revolutionary military strategies and weaponry that emphasized rapid attack and siege warfare, which he then brilliantly used to overwhelm opposing armies in Asia, break the back of the Islamic world, and render the armored knights of Europe obsolete. Under Genghis Khan, the Mongol army never numbered more than 100,000 warriors, yet it subjugated more lands and people in twenty-five years than the Romans conquered in four hundred. With an empire that stretched from Siberia to India, from Vietnam to Hungary, and from Korea to the Balkans, the Mongols dramatically redrew the map of the globe, connecting disparate kingdoms into a new world order.

But contrary to popular wisdom, Weatherford reveals that the Mongols were not just masters of conquest, but possessed a genius for progressive and benevolent rule. On every level and from any perspective, the scale and scope of Genghis Khan’s accomplishments challenge the limits of imagination. Genghis Khan was an innovative leader, the first ruler in many conquered countries to put the power of law above his own power, encourage religious freedom, create public schools, grant diplomatic immunity, abolish torture, and institute free trade. The trade routes he created became lucrative pathways for commerce, but also for ideas, technologies, and expertise that transformed the way people lived. The Mongols introduced the first international paper currency and postal system and developed and spread revolutionary technologies like printing, the cannon, compass, and abacus. They took local foods and products like lemons, carrots, noodles, tea, rugs, playing cards, and pants and turned them into staples of life around the world. The Mongols were the architects of a new way of life at a pivotal time in history.

In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford resurrects the true history of Genghis Khan, from the story of his relentless rise through Mongol tribal culture to the waging of his devastatingly successful wars and the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed. This dazzling work of revisionist history doesn’t just paint an unprecedented portrait of a great leader and his legacy, but challenges us to reconsider how the modern world was made.

Reviews

This is an excellent book which I can recommend highly. If you currently hold the popular, one-dimensional view of his being a bloody-handed barbarian leading a horde of savage steppes warriors on a cross-continental rampage of rape, torture and pillage, upon finishing this well written book, you will have an entirely different view of Genghis Khan and may actually consider him to be among history’s Great Men. The book is well paced and provides an account of Genghis from his early days until his death many years later. Along the way a great number of very interesting and historically significant individuals are introduced, including but not limited to his immediate family, and the author does a fine job of finishing the tale of the Mongol Empire after the death of the Khan of Khans. Like any good work of history it gives a real sense of what life was like for a wide range of people during the time period, and how the events of that period helped shape our world today. A true treasure chest of interesting information that will keep crossing your mind long after you finish it.” -Finn

This book is a must read for everyone because it reveals the genesis of modern civilizations. “Genghis Khan redrew the boundaries of the modern world” ….”united a dozen Slavic principalities and cities into one large Russian state”…”created the country of China”…”created countries such as Korea and India”….”created and amalgamated the many civilizations into a new world order”. “He smashed the feudal system of aristocratic privilege and birth … built a new system based on individual merit, loyalty and achievement.” Genghis Khan “insisted on laws holding rulers accountable … granted religious freedom … abolished torture .. instituted diplomatic unity for all ambassadors and envoys including those from hostile nations”
“Seemingly EVERY aspect of European life – technology, warfare, clothing, commerce, food, art, literature, music .. changed as a result of the Mongol influence:. Incredible story of his rise from the edge of the grave to not only conquering more than twice as much land as any other ruler in history but creating a dynasty that survived until he early 1900’s.” -Matthew.ewoldt

Dr. Weatherford’s book is an incredible account of the Mongol world of Genghis Khan and his descendents. Once you finish reading Weatherford’s book, you will understand how Temujin’s reign and his ideas influenced our present day world. Your education and knowledge level of the ancient and modern world is incomplete until you have read this book. Genghis Khan was ahead of his time and has received a “bad rep” by western historians…. until now! At age 66, I feel that I have finally learned the truth.” -Ernest Malinowski

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

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