Jan's Reviews > Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
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's review
Aug 01, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in July, 2011

With the completion of this book, I finally polished off the first page of my reading list! Of course, that reading list has about 7 more pages after it, but I'm thrilled nonetheless. It's been a long time coming.

Truly, what a fantastic book to finish it with. You think you know all you need to know about Genghis Khan? Well, you think wrong. In fact, if you're anything like me, everything you thought you knew is incorrect. I don't know if I've ever been more impressed by a historical figure. Temujin (his real name) came from absolute nothing - from the literal dregs of Mongolian society - to become their greatest leader. It is truly amazing.

After reading Weatherford's masterful work, I really can't decide what impresses me more - that Temujin somehow morphed into a military genius, that he turned out to be one of the world's finest administrators, that he built one of the first postal systems, that he was a beacon of religious tolerance in a world of intolerance, that he was more civilized than the Europeans who considered him a barbarian . . . ? I could go on. I don't know how this book isn't more famous than it is - it's a far better read than some of the other non-fiction books that have been popular in recent years (i.e. Salt or The Ghost Map).

I will admit that it lost some steam after Genghis Khan's death, when his sons and then grandsons then took up the mantel. Perhaps it's just because I didn't care about their stories as much as I did his. Also, it could be a little tedious in spots, especially when describing administrative stuff. But those were mere blips of boredom in an otherwise fascinating book. I'll definitely never think of Mongolia the same way again!
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