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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern…
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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (2004)

by Jack Weatherford

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Good overview of importance of Genghis Khan and the Mongols. Very interesting, since I knew so little about them. ( )
  Fernhill | Aug 20, 2013 |
"With so many accomplishments by the Mongols, it hardly seems surprising that Geoffrey Chaucer, the first author in the English language, devoted the longest story in The Canterbury Tales to the Asian conqueror Genghis Khan" (location 222).

The who in the what now? This nonsensical assertion immediately follows Jack Weatherford's crediting the Mongols for the Renaissance. That's broad, but I was open to his argument; to call Chaucer the first author in (Middle, comprehensible-ish now) English is risible. Pardon me, you've got some Langland stuck in your teeth.

... In the next paragraph he implies that Chaucer and Roger Bacon were Renaissance. Stop, no more, I'll have a fit.

I swear, I read the whole thing just to see what half-baked, zero-supported claim he'd make next.
1 vote ljhliesl | May 21, 2013 |
This is a book that can and should be read by everyone, at least all with the slightest interest in world history. I feel this so adamantly since what it tells us does away with serious misconceptions about the Mongol Empire. It explains in a clear and comprehensible manner how the world we live in today has been improved by Mongol practices. It is stated that the book is revisionary, but I believe wholeheartedly in what we are told. It is clear and thoroughly documented. What we are told just plain makes sense! The author is a cultural anthropologist and historian.

The book begins with a discussion about the life of Genghis Khan (1162-1227), follows his successors, offering detailed information both about Kublai Khan and powerful women of the clan, discussing the formation of the Mongol nation in 1206, the squabbling that arose between the successive leaders and concludes with a convincing analysis of how the Mongol Empire has influenced today’s world.

We all think of the Mongols as barbarians that wrought havoc on the world. Few of us are aware of how they opened the world to commerce. They opened new trade routes, not only of physical goods but for the transmission of ideas and cultures. I am daunted because I cannot adequately express how this book has so changed how I view world history. I used to praise the new ideas espoused during the Enlightenment, but did you know that Voltaire drew a picture of the savage, blood-thirsty Mongols that served their own purposes and created a one-sided view that hid the truth. Chaucer praised Genghis Kahn and Marco Polo did the same for Kublai Kahn; When Christopher Columbus sailed west it was to look for Cathay, to reconnect with the fantastic trade routes established by the Mongols. I could go on and on showing how what we have been told about these so-called barbarians just doesn’t quite add up! What is explained here in this book makes sense and it changes how we understand today’s modern world.

Did you know that Genghis Kahn made the capital of his Chinese Empire present day Beijing in 1266 and that that the Forbidden City was a huge park filled with wild animals where the Mongol leaders lived in ghers/yurts? Here in this enclosed area the Mongol leaders lived according to their own Mongol traditions. They ate their traditional foods, ate with knives, which the Chinese found abhorrent, drank fermented mare’s milk and practiced their own sports and games, so foreign to the Chinese culture around them. Did you know that “hooray” is based on a Mongol expression of exuberance? Did you know that Columbus called the red-skinned natives he encountered when he landed on the islands off the American mainland Indians because he thought he had met up with the Mongols living south of the Chinese Mongols, the Mongols of India? That is why Native Americans originally were called Indians. There is so much in this book that makes sense, it is like putting together all the pieces of a puzzle and everything fits!

Kublai Kahn supported universal education with classes held in the colloquial language. Paper money was invented by the Chinese, but he saw its practicality and radically expanded its usage. Under his rule China attained its Golden Age of Drama. Medical knowledge, textile production, printing techniques, basically all areas of knowledge that were practical and useful were supported and transported to new areas around the world. Under the Mongol rule there was religious freedom. In the 1200s, think of that!

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Jonathan Davis. His pronunciation of Mongol terms is clear. The pacing is perfect. This is essential in a book of non-fiction. Along with the download one is given pdf files of maps and diagrams. One difficulty that I had, when I searched on the net for further information, was that often more than one name was used for the same person. It is also difficult to recognize Mongol names. This is easier if you can both see and hear them.

It is time that we begin to acknowledge the good things Genghis Kahn and Kublai Kahn have given us. Read this book and you will stop using the word “Mongolian” as a word of slander.

Completed May 8, 2013 ( )
1 vote chrissie3 | May 8, 2013 |
of numerous sources i've been studying on the subject, this is hands-down the single best introduction: an amazing story, with a variety of insights relevant to today, and very well organized and told. I look forward to reading his others books, which span a range of topics : money, Native Americans, etc.

( )
  nobodhi | Apr 8, 2013 |
Impressive. Anything I assumed I knew about Khan was incorrect. I had no idea how the Mongolian Empire rose so very quickly, and how fertile it was for the development of new solutions and ideas.

I recommend this if you are seeking the missing pieces in world history. ( )
  anguinea | Apr 4, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Weatherfordprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davis, JonathanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lång, ÖjevindTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
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People/Characters
Important places
Important events
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Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Of the thousands of cities conquered by the Mongols, history only mentions one that Geghis Khan deigned to enter.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
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Book description
Contents
The Mongol Dynasties
Introduction: The Missing Conqueror
Part I: The Reign of Terror on the Steppe: 1162-1206
Chapter 1: The Blood Cot
Chapter 2: Tale of Three Rivers
Chapter 3: War of the Khans
Part II: The Mongol World War: 1211 -1261
Chapter 4: Spitting on the Golden Khan
Chapter 5: Sultan versus Khan
Chapter 6: The Discovery and Conquest of Europe
Chapter 7: Warring Queens
Part III: The Global Awakening: 1262-1962
Chapter 8: Khubilai Khan and the New Mongol Empire
Chapter 9: The Global Awakening
Chapter 10: The Empire of Illusion
Epilogue: The Eternal Spirit of Genghis Khan
Notes
Glossary
Acknowledgements
About the Author
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0609809644, Paperback)

The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in twenty-?ve years than the Romans did in four hundred. 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A thought provoking re-evaluation of Genghis Khan's rise to power sheds light on the revolutionary reforms the conqueror instituted throughout his empire, including religious freedom, diplomatic immunity, and the creation of the Silk Road free trade zone as well as on his uniting of the East and West, which set the foundation for the nation states and global economic systems of the modern era. Reprint. The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in twenty years than the Romans did in four hundred. 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.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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