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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  13,010 ratings  ·  1,011 reviews
The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in twenty-five 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 t ...more
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Published April 6th 2010 by Brilliance Audio (first published 2004)
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Grace Tjan
Genghis Khan and his Mongol Horde were good news for the world. Really. Not convinced? Consider the following:

1. Genghis Khan was an advocate of human rights, specifically freedom of religion, freedom from torture and free trade (he got two of the Four Freedoms right, which is pretty impressive by medieval standards, especially when they still, like, burned heretics and unbelievers in Europe and elsewhere). GK forbade the use of torture in trials and as punishment. He also granted religious free
...more
Chrissie
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 p ...more
Lee Broderick
This gets two stars instead of one because it's very well written. Factually, however, it's abysmal.

If you want a light, easy and entertaining read, you won't be disappointed. If you'd like to learn about Mongolian history however, I can only urge you not to read this book. A better bet would be the eminently more reliable, but still readable The Mongols by David Morgan.

It suffers from many of the faults common to revisionist history - starting out with a good point but over-exaggerating to the
...more
Lara
This might be my favorite book of all time. It's as fascinating as a history book or biography can get while also being a terrific read. From the first page, you are immersed in understanding how an illiterate steppe warrior became ruler of an empire larger than Africa. Perhaps most enticing to me are the ways in which the survival strategies of steppe nomads influenced the ethics of rulership and the cunning development of military tactics. I recommend this book to anyone with a sense of curios ...more
Jamie
This is a pretty radical book, and like most revisionist history it goes a little bit overboard with it's thesis: Genghis Khan wasn't a bloodthirsty barbarian, he was the greatest civilizing influence the world has ever seen, bringing peace of rule of law wherever he went!

In addition to the amazing personal details presented about Genghis Khan and his early life as an outcast from one of the most obscure fringe nomadic tribes of Mongolia to, well, King of the World, the book does make a fascinat
...more
Indra
To the Young Mongols:
Never forget the Mongolian scholars
who were willing to sacrifice their lives to preserve your history.


Энэ ном надад их таалагдсан. Монголчуудын ахуй амьдралыг сайн дүрсэлсэн, үйл явдлуудыг олон талаас тайлбарласан, ер нь бодит байдалтай их л дөхөм юм шиг санагдав. Бас бидний олж хардаггүй зүйлсийг өөр өнцөгөөс харж бичсэн байсан. Бүх хүмүүст уншихыг зөвлөж байна. Уйтгартай түүхийн ном шиг санагдахгүй гэдгийг амлая (эхний 2 хэсэгт таны мэддэг юм гарах болохоор уйдаж магадгүй,
...more
Victoria Evangelina Belyavskaya
~THE JUST WRATH OF GODS~

Listening to this fascinating audio book in the gym and when walking the dog... Temurlen (as he's known here) had a tough childhood; his warrior life started with his refusal to let go of his beloved wife Borta who was kidnapped by a huge and strong tribe... And he, a 19-year old boy who grew up as an outcast, hunting for rats, went on gathering support to bring her (and also his mother and other women of the family) back, for he felt that his chest was cut open and heart
...more
Батбаяр Т
Би урьд нь Монголын нууц товчоог нэг удаа уншиж байсан. Одоо бараг мартагнаж байгаа. Уншаад тэр тэгсэн, энэ ингэсэн гэсэн болсон явдлыг л мэдсэнээс биш харин тэдгээр үйл явдлуудын учир шалтгаан, ач холбогдлуудыг тэгтлээ ухаарч мэдээгүй. Гэтэл Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World гэдэг энэхүү номыг уншаад Монголын нууц товчоонд өгүүлсэн зарим үйл явдлуудын ач холбогдлыг ойлгож авсан төдийгүй дэлхийн түүхийн талаас олон зүйлсийг мэддэг боллоо. Мөн Их монгол улс дэлхийн түүхэн хөгжилд ям ...more
Bryn Hammond
Jack Weatherford is a cultural anthropologist whose speciality is tribal peoples. He has written several books I value -- 'Indian Givers', 'Savages and Civilization', 'Native Roots'. He brings to this one on the Mongols a knowledge and understanding of tribal cultures -- that in fact is rare in historians. I feel Weatherford can tell you things 'straight' historians can't, on the Mongols -- because of his areas of study.

It's true that his account of Temujin's life is an interpreted one -- the w
...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This is a very entertaining, thought-provoking and well-written book. The relatively low rating reflects my lingering skepticism. The back of the book itself calls it "revisionist history" and Weatherford is not a historian, but an anthropologist. Although to give him his due, he was part of a team that helped translate The Secret History of the Mongols and explored the Mongolian homeland once it was no longer restricted in the wake of the breakup of the Soviet Empire. No doubt the image of the ...more
Johnny Atomic
One of the finest biographies I've ever read. Considering the subject matter (an ancient culture that kept few records, which the Chinese tried their best to wipe out), it's mind-boggling the level of research needed to produce such a book. Further, if only half the information contained within was accurate, it would still be one of the greatest attempts to shed light on the practically forgotten works of history's mightiest conqueror: Genghis Khan.

Like most biographers, Weatherford clearly beca
...more
Ahmed
NGCSU assitant professor of history Timothy May's review of Weatherford's Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World makes it clear that May has made two assumptions: that Weatherford sought to (i) write a book on history, and (ii) that he intended it for Western readers. Many of Weatherford's actual readers may share May's assumptions, but they shouldn't. It seems clear to me that Weatherford has written a work of anthropology and his intended readers---to whom he dedicated the work---are ...more
AC
I lost interest after about 2 hours. The guy's a cultural anthropologist who sat around the Mongolian steepes for five years (after sailing the ocean littoral for several more) eating yak meat in the snow with a group of Mongolian (some, self-styled) scholars. That's very interesting, but doesn't exactly equip him to write a closely focused narrative history (in semi-novelistic fashion) about an individual regarding whom there's not much primary evidence.

The first third deals with Jackie's..., I
...more
Tamara
This was quite interesting without being very interesting, unfortunately. Theres a lot of cool bits and pieces, but they're thrown off a bit off-hand. The Mongols, we're told, established a common currency and universities, but how did that currency actually function, and what did those universities look like? The book seems to lay out the theory, without giving any examples or going into the details. What was going on in practice? What was the shape of the gap?

Secondly, while I usually prefer
...more
Kim
Dec 22, 2011 Kim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Kim by: My aunt
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the third book in a trilogy that all Western schoolchildren should read to put worl history in proper perspective. The first is 1491 by Charles Martin about the "real" Americas before Columbus, the second is Destiny Disrupted by Tamim Ansary about the history of the world from the Islamic perspective, and this is the third.

The Mongolian Empire gets a bad rap in the West and all because of a political accident that occurred in 1755. Voltaire was writing a play to skewer the King of Franc
...more
Zakariah Johnson
This is not a book you should read if you are looking for a good introductory history on either Genghis Khan or the Mongol Empire. The tone of the book is more hagiography than biography, which raises caution flags from the start, and it can't be accepted as a reliable history due to the lack of sufficient citations to back up its many revisionist claims and other assertions. The Mongols' contributions to the course of world history, both for good and for ill, were considerable, but Weatherford ...more
Sam
We all have the stereotype of Genghis Kahn being a bloodthirsty murderer and killing millions of people and then piling their heads up into giant piles. BUT - this isn't the case. Yes it's true that he was responsible for killing a lot of people, but his empire was one of the first to have free religion, free trade, diplomatic immunity, accountability for all people (kings had the same accountability as a peasant), and without the boundaries of religion, science could prosper - unlike Europe whe ...more
Benedict
I had thought that Genghis Khan was another one of those mad conquerors that we had read about in history, like Tamerlane, Attila the Hun or Hitler.

However, his story is more interesting than that. He definitely was a brute. For instance, to help win a battle he would round up villagers who were "trapped" outside the central city walls and force them into the surrounding moat and then trample them with heavy war machines and his own troops on horseback.

He created an empire four times the size of
...more
Ben
Apr 03, 2008 Ben rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ben by: Matt
Shelves: non-fiction
A very interesting examination of the life of Genghis Khan and the empire he created. The book starts with Genghis's early life, his uniting the Mongol tribes and his military successes. What was most interesting was that Genghis Khan's ideas, both for his tactics, his military organization, and the administration of his empire, seem to come out of nowhere. His ideas were so innovative that they appear incredible.

The book continues through the reign of his grandchildren, and the eventual fall of
...more
Michael Flanagan
This book went a long way to shedding light on the man known as Genghis Kahn for me. It was a well written book that engaged me and made this book a pleasure to read.

So I here you ask why not 5 stars instead of the 3 you have given it? The reason is that I was expecting the life of Genghis Kahn and how his deeds helped shape the modern world to take up most of this book. So I was very surprised that just after the half-way mark Genghis up and died. The rest of the book concentrated on his offsp
...more
Julie Bozza
An excellent read about an intriguing man and his long-lived legacy. I think most people will find a surprise or two in here, or most of us Westerners, at least; I certainly did. Genghis Khan has had over two hundred years of bad press, and Weatherford seeks to reclaim the whole story, the whole history of not just Mongolia but the Western world, and Genghis's place in it. The book's title briefly states Weatherford's main premise: that Genghis Khan, and after him in different ways his grandson ...more
Karen Mardahl
I finished reading or listening to this book today, and I enjoyed it. I really didn't know much about Genghis Khan, which is why I wanted to read about him to fill in gaps in my knowledge of history. I made a slight mistake by getting curious about the book shortly after I started and reading some reviews on Amazon. A few were scathing and said it was full of errors. Some said the author was blindly impressed by someone who was basically a murderer. At first I was disappointed in having my impre ...more
Jenny
I read this after returning from a trip to Siberia (Lake Baikal area), where I had spent some time learning about the mixing of Shamanism and Lamaism (Buddhism). One of my fellow travelers was reading this book and so I decided to read it upon my return.

It is a biography of Genghis Khan from pre-birth to post-death. Most people think of him as a tyrant through-and-through, but in spite of his brutality that he was quite rightly known for (i.e. total destruction of sieged cities, including women
...more
Drew Johnson
Terrific. My education with western biases failed me by not exposing me to Ghenghis Kahn earlier. Genghis Khan, his grandson Khubilai, and the Mongol empire they presided over have been misunderstood and undervalued. Their impact and leadership are both stunning. Whether measured by land mass, population or countries conquered Genghis Khan conquered twice as much as any other person to ever walk the earth. He (and in some cases his grandson Khubilai) did so through cleverly implementing the foll ...more
David
If you choose to listen to this book as two-part, 14+-hour audio download from Audible, be aware that, although the author's introduction appears as the last chapter of the second part (of two) of the audio download, it could profitably be listened to before the rest of the book. Specifically, the author's introduction explains the history of the long-lost and recently-recovered “Secret History of the Mongols”, which is then referred to without explanation in the body of the text.

The author's co
...more
Becky
The name Genghis Khan brings to mind murdering Mongolian hordes. This book examines who Genghis Khan was, and the changes to civilization resulting from him and his descendants. Perhaps it is revisionist history, but nevertheless, I different way to look at how civilization grew, and the part Genghis Khan played.

Divided in three parts, the first is Genghis Khan, than his four sons and their descendants, and finally their place in history and impact of communism on the Mongol people and the resea
...more
John Spillane
Saw the author on C-SPAN BookTV about six years ago and bought the pb thinking there was no way it could be as engrossing as the segment. Never got far in, but when it was FINALLY recently released on audiobook I devoured it. I think they moved the author's forward/introduction to the end in the audiobook which was a great move as it is the only dry part and may have stymied me in my few attempts at starting the pb.

This is really a tremendous book Mr. Weathford should be commended for putting i
...more
Caroline
The legacy of Genghis Khan is often riddled with fearsome myths around the man's cruelty and blood lust. The research that the author has undertaken shows us, as much as he is able, given the scanty written record of his earlier life and certainly little of his thoughts. What he does deliver is a blunt assessment of a man who, having been cast out with his mother and brothers from the clan after his father is killed, goes on to kill his elder half-brother, is imprisoned as a slave by another kha ...more
Marialyce
I always love a book that teaches the reader new things and in this book there was a world of revelations about a man I was taught to believe was a barbarian. The opposite was quite true, although there was a sufficient amount of bloodshed and murder, Genghis Khan was a man who seemed to be destined to lead. He had very specific ideas about being a conqueror and many of them one would consider benign and definitely forward thinking.

This man eventually controlled an empire that was vast, consist
...more
Ben
A non-fiction book that reads almost like an entertaining novel, yet also provides a unique and detailed perspective into the Mongolian civilization and culture founded by Genghis Khan. One of the best non-fiction books I've read.

The most intriguing part of the book may be the author's effective countering of the stereotyped notions of the reign of Mongolian empire as one driven solely by bloodlust and lack of any moral code. The easiest example would be the religious tolerance of the Mongols an
...more
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general discussion 7 36 Jun 29, 2013 11:15AM  
For anyone wishing to understand modern history 6 97 May 06, 2013 08:32AM  
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Jack McIver Weatherford is the former DeWitt Wallace Professor of anthropology at Macalester College in Minnesota. He is best known for his 2004 book, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. His other books include The History of Money; Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World; and The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescu ...more
More about Jack Weatherford...
Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire The History of Money Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America Savages and Civilization

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