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The Devil's Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  264 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
The Mongols formed one of the finest armies ever known--and when they swept across the Danube on Christmas Day 1241, the west lay at the mercy of these "horsemen from hell." From a wealth of contemporary sources comes the story of these soldiers, and especially of Subedei Bahadur, the illiterate military genius who brought 20th-century warfare to Medieval Europe. A fascina ...more
Hardcover, 102 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Booksales (first published 1979)
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(showing 1-30 of 614)
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Douglas
May 30, 2007 Douglas rated it really liked it
Did you know that, in the mid 13th Century, European civilization teetered on the brink of conquest? And that it was only a quirk of fate that spared Central and Western Europe the same fate that had befallen Russia and would soon overtake China?

I didn't.

The Devil's Horsemen is an excellent account of the Mongol invasion of Poland and Hungary in the early 1240s. The Mongol armies were far better organized and equipped than their Medieval European counterparts. The Mongols had something resembli
...more
Adam  McPhee
The Mongols stomped the planet from 1206 to the end of the century, and it effected pretty much everyone. The book follows the campaigns of the Mongols. Everyone knows about their superiority with mounted archers, but they also used Chinese engineers and artillery, which was so advanced that they scared the Europeans to death by advancing under a smoke screen, or firing early rockets at them. They drowned enemies by flooding dykes or by tricking armies into following them onto insufficiently thi ...more
Mary Soon Lee
Feb 13, 2016 Mary Soon Lee rated it really liked it
Shelves: military
Summer-reading book review #24: "The Devil's Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe," by James Chambers. Though at times too densely packed with information to be easily digestible (at least by me), this is a good reference work on the Mongols. I found myself highlighting detail after detail, including such tidbits as "Inalchuk was sent to Chingis Khan's headquarters, where molten silver was poured into his eyes and ears until he died" and "there was a whole period in Chinese art when all the s ...more
DoctorM
Jul 15, 2010 DoctorM rated it it was amazing
A fine introduction to the Mongol invasions of Russia and Eastern Europe. Light on culture or the clan politics that made the Mongol empire so ephemeral, but a good introductory look at the era of conquest. Chambers focuses on Mongol military organisation and the remarkable adaptability and power of the Mongol armies and on the shock that spread out across Central Europe when Mongol horsemen appeared from over the horizon. And, yes, you will want a Mongol bow. You really will.
John Corey
Jun 11, 2015 John Corey rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It has a sharp focus and tells its story well. This is not a biography of Chingis Khan (his spelling), nor is it an exhaustive history of the Mongols. It is the story of the Mongol invasion of Europe. He paints a picture of the most efficient war machine of the age. One that had already conquered all of China before turning their attention to the west. The Mongols here are more terrifying than the false description of them as a loose horde of marauders. They were highly orga ...more
Hedlun
Feb 26, 2012 Hedlun rated it really liked it
I probably would have appreciated this book more if I were more than a recreational historian. I would warn potential readers that it was confusing at times to keep all the people straight, especially given the unfamiliar nature of so many names. Overall, though, this was a fascinating read. I was caught of guard that the story begins with Genghis Kahn already leading the Mongol army, and dies abbout 20 pages into the book. In many ways that made the rest of the story even more interesting. The ...more
Mosaic
Mar 24, 2011 Mosaic rated it liked it
As Chambers introduces in his preface, his aim is to tell a good story about the Mongols' western campaigns. Insofar as that, he succeeds because of his very engaging style. The reader really gets a sense of the military behemoth that was the Mongol army under Chingis Khan, and the magnitude of threat it posed to the sedentary civilizations of Asia and Europe. At the same time, Chambers also makes sure he highlights the factional politics that had so divided Europe that neither could they stand ...more
Suzanne Moore
The history of Genghis Khan and his offspring was long and complicated to me. More than likely it was the difficulty in pronouncing names and places, along with visualizing where all the places lie in relation to each other that made processing all the details difficult. One thing I learned was the devastation left in the wake of these warrior Mongols, on horseback, was horrific. The Mongol empire was built on the plunder and massacre of many civilians. The territories gained throughout the conq ...more
Ronald Jones
One of the best books I've read on the Mongol expansion. The author's narrative style is riveting and it really puts the reader at the heart of events surrounding the Mongol's explosion out of the Asian steppes and onto the world scene during the 13th century.
Sarahandus
May 22, 2014 Sarahandus rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Unfortunately my eyes had a tendency to glaze over at all the unfamiliar names and places.
The Mongol invasions were taken in order from Genghis Khan through to the fall of their empire. It was interesting in talking about their war machines and techniques.
Timothy Boyd
Mar 09, 2016 Timothy Boyd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read! nice overview of the history, military organization, lifestyle and leaders of the Moguls. This is one of top history books i have ever read. Nice easy read and great writing lets you read, learn and enjoy all at the same time. Highly recommended
Wes
Sep 21, 2012 Wes rated it liked it


Pretty amazing that the Mongols were on the verge of completely conquering both Europe and the Middle East, only to be turned back both times not by opposing armies but by the deaths of the khans and in-fighting. Without those dynamics, the Mongols would have taken virtually all of Asia, Europe and the Middle East and both Christianity and Islam as we know them would have been dramatically altered if not wiped out entirely.
Paul
Nov 05, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good history without going into too much detail, and believe me, you don't want a lot more detail. Chamber is a good writer who keeps things moving along, and managed to give you a good look at what must have been a very rough time to be alive. Time line starts in 1220 and runs approximately to the end of the century. Wars, massacres, plagues, treachery. But at least these people didn't have to put up with, Facebook.
Mike
Oct 19, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a telling of the Mongol Empire and its brush with Europe. The Europeans were easly defeated by the Mongols and Vinenna would have fallen to them if Genglis Khan had not died from a fall from a horse just before the invasion was set to commence.

This story is about the burtality that the Europeans, who burned witches and pulled people apart on a "Rack" thought that the Mongols brought with them.
Clark
Dec 08, 2012 Clark marked it as to-read
Well, I've kind of "read it." I have listened to the book on tape countless times, but it doesn't sink in very well. It's good. But there are so many names, so much political intrigue, and such a sweep of geography that I really need to actually read it. I have a copy next to my bed, but I've got a book back-log so I'll get back to ya'.
Dan
Dec 24, 2008 Dan rated it really liked it
After watching the movie, Mongol, I found this on my shelf and read it. It's a quick read and a good introduction to the Mongols and the empire they conquered. I have an older edition and the only quibble I have is the maps could have been a bit better and more detailed. As they are though, it was easy enough to follow along.
Taylor Kniphfer
Aug 05, 2012 Taylor Kniphfer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A great vivid account of the Mongol invasions of Europe and a great exposay of what might have been had the Khan not died in 1241 and Subedei and Batu were allowed to conquer all of Europe. Might the Mongol Empire have reached the Atlantic Ocean? This book tells that story and it tells it well.
Tim P
Jan 08, 2009 Tim P rated it really liked it
I am completely and unabashedly biased regarding how awesome I find the Mongols to be. While many books focus on politics, religion, etc...this one is one o fthe best assessments I have read of their tremendously advanced military strategy.

Definitely recommend to history nerds.
Jihae
Jul 14, 2008 Jihae rated it liked it
I am no Historian but I feel like scholarship for this book is bit suspect (partly because the book is filled with lots of "So and So was greedy and had a bad temper). But it's very entertaining and "The Mongol War Machine" chapter was the most fascinating thing I've read in a long while.
Tim Painter
May 27, 2008 Tim Painter rated it really liked it
I found this book very interesting. We talk about the roman and persian empires of old but rarely do you hear about the mongols and the extend of their empire. This books chronicles the entire thing as well as the tactics used in their warfare. They were pretty amazing.
Gabriel
Feb 25, 2008 Gabriel rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting book. I do wish there was more information on Mongolian culture. Also, the end of the book digresses into a sort of list of events and becomes tedious. Still a great read.
johnny db
Feb 25, 2010 johnny db rated it it was amazing
you can not put this down.
to think that atilla had all of westrern europe at his feet but for some court intrigue back at home almost makes you believe that God does intervene in human events...
Nick
Feb 23, 2010 Nick rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Chambers' book covers a lot more than the Mongol invasion of Europe. It covers a great deal of the Mongol conquests before Europe but after their conquest of China.
Michael
Mar 08, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it
Gripping description of the Mongol invasion of Europe, their military machine and society. Great description of battles and tactics.
Cimuchowski
Oct 08, 2007 Cimuchowski rated it really liked it
Shelves: war
What an amazing killing machine, the Mongol Horde. They did with horses what few could do with machines.
Jonathan
Jul 15, 2013 Jonathan rated it liked it
Book could have delved deeper into the subject, but did pretty well for 200 pages.
Frank Thun
Apr 01, 2013 Frank Thun rated it really liked it
Rather short, 180 pages, but a good read
Charles
Aug 11, 2011 Charles rated it really liked it
A classic history
Charles
Apr 28, 2011 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-mongols
A classic history
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History Project 1 4 Nov 27, 2012 11:13AM  
  • The Mongols
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  • Trial by Battle
  • The Quest for El Cid
  • The Greco-Persian Wars
  • Hannibal (Military Library)
  • The Knight in History
  • Byzantium: The Decline and Fall
  • The Ascent of Everest
  • The Northern Crusades
  • Constantine the Great: The Man and His Times
  • Genghis Khan: Emperor of All Men
  • The Goths
  • The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune 1870-71
  • The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
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