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Genghis Khan: His Conquests, His Empire, His Legacy

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  438 ratings  ·  65 reviews
A definitive and sweeping account of the life and times of the world's greatest conqueror--Genghis Khan--and the rise of the Mongol empire in the 13th century
Combining fast-paced accounts of battles with rich cultural background and the latest scholarship, Frank McLynn brings vividly to life the strange world of the Mongols and Genghis Khan's rise from boyhood outcast to
Hardcover, 704 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Da Capo Press (first published June 23rd 2015)
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  438 ratings  ·  65 reviews

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May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Genghis Khan: His Conquests, His Empire, His Legacy by Frank McLynn is a detailed history of Asia's most famous ruler. McLynn is a British author, biographer, historian and journalist. He is noted for critically acclaimed biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte, Robert Louis Stevenson, Carl Jung, Richard Francis Burton and Henry Morton Stanley. He was Alistair Horne Research Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford (1987–88) and was visiting professor in the Department of Literature at the University of ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
3.5 stars

They come as though the sky were falling, and they disappear like a flash of lightning.

I got way more than I bargained for, but I enjoyed it.

There’s quite a bit about the khan, but this book really focuses on the whole picture of the khan’s armies, their campaigns and the countries they conquered. All good information in small doses, but the campaigns are overly detailed: providing army numbers for each battle, and digressing into long-winded explanations of the conquered countries.
Bryn Hammond
Jul 26, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steppe-history
I have two main reasons for my harsh allotment of one star – a rating to be read as a ‘cannot recommend’ from me; not exactly ‘I hated it’, although I did become emotional on going through 8-10 newspaper reviews: these were written by book critics, not experts or fans of Mongol history, and they had nothing to judge by except their general impressions of the Mongols, impressions which the book, more or less, confirmed. Only one I saw, in the Asian Review of Books, asked a few of the right questi ...more
Brandon Forsyth
Here's the thing: if you title this thing "Genghis Khan: The Man Who Conquered The World", you're setting up expectations in the reader that this book will be about the person. I get that ancient history and the people within it are hard to write about, for a variety of reasons, but just call it "Genghis Khan and the Mongols" if you can't craft a personal narrative out of the sources. As it stands, this book is a serviceable (if tedious) military history of the Mongols' movements throughout Asia ...more
very readable flowing like a novel; while presenting the general (and generally well known facts) story and continuing a few decades beyond the death of Gengis with an outline of what happened with the Mongol Empire until its split in 4 essentially different states, the book is very clear and articulate without going into hyperbole or judgement; brutal and benefiting of temporary military superiority as well as of squabbling enemies in the west and a divided and weaker than usual Chinese colossu ...more
Casey Wheeler
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, net-galley
I received a pre-release e-copy of this book through NetGalley (publication date July 14, 2015) with the expectation that I will post a review on their site and others (my blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon, etc.).

I requested this book because I am interested in Genghis Khan and I haven't read a biography on him in 50 years (junior high) which was mostly about the legend. This is the first book by Frank McLynn that I have read.

The book is well researched and very info
Margaret Sankey
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another giant book, since McLynn rounds out what can be pieced together from the Secret History and outside accounts of the Mongols with fuller discussions of Mongol life--much of it reinforced by *anthropological* studies of still-nomadic Mongol herdspeople. The ecology of Mongol steppe maintenance and wildlife control, logistical abilities, family dynamics and economic arrangements, as he argues, turn out to be significant in understanding why the Mongols were able to shift so quickly--and so ...more
Deepak Fernandes
The only drawback of this book is a lack of enough maps.

There are maps at the beginning, but this book goes into so much useful detail that it would have been better to have more maps. However, this could have increased the size of the book.

The author describes the background of the Mongol Empire incredibly well and his appendix on the Khwarezim and Qara-Khitai empires are worthy of books by themselves.

Reading this book is not for the light-hearted, but it is also not a dry scholarly tome. While
Fahed ( Fred )
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: none-sequel
it was worth a read. I didn't really want to finish the book because I was so in to it.
Andy Miller
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This biography of Genghis Khan describes both Khan's military campaigns and Mongol life at the time of his rise and during the time he ruled most of the known world. The author, Frank McLynn, describes the unlikely and self made rise and contrasts it with Alexander the Great inheriting his father's army and empire, Cesar expanding an already existing empire as opposed to creating it, Napoleon building upon on an existing French state and French revolution fervor--while Khan started as just one ...more
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Genghis Khan: The Man Who Conquered the World is historian Frank McLynn's mid-size biography covering the entire life of Genghis Khan and concluding with the conquest of Hungary and a very brief overview of the Mongol Empire until Mongke's death. Put together using an incredible amount of sources, the book is extremely informative but is often too detailed to be an enjoyable 'popular history' read.

I both liked and disliked the detail. I liked it in the sense that there was so much in here that I
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve always had a soft spot for Genghis. He always seemed like a man who did not understand the word no, who simply did not know how to give up, who would take what he wanted, preferably when he wanted, but if not, he would come back later and take it. Apart from the basic knowledge, one of my earliest experiences of Genghis was in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, not a classic historical study, but a film that did make me think about figures of the past that I would love to meet if I had the ...more
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
The author seems very concerned about making his book palatable to academic historians who might turn up their noses at a mere biography, so this sprawls in all directions: the anthropology of Mongolian culture, the military campaigns of subordinates who are halfway across Eurasia, the court intrigues of states confronted with the Mongol onslaught, and so on. I'm more than okay with that in principle, but in execution this was rough going. Figures in the Mongolian hierarchy were introduced with ...more
A full recounting of the time- less than a hundred years in the 13th century- when Genghis Khan and his son Ogodei conquered much of Asia and Europe. The secrets of their military success were; speed of attack, superior intelligence of the opposition and an ability to improvise. They loved the use of the feigned retreat. They taught themselves siegecraft in order to attack walled cities and had rudimentary explosives when no one else did. McLynn believes the Mongols produced three generals who a ...more
Chris Jaffe
Aug 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Informative, but it can be a slog. Campaign after campaign after campaign gets wearying for the reader (at least for this reader). Early on isn't so bad as he intersperses chapters on military campaigns with other ones - a chapter on the Mongol legal code, a chapter on the personality of Genghis and his kids, etc. But then it's just campaign after campaign.

The book could use more maps. There are some in the front, but they are rather broad/basic. Given the level of detail given on the campaigns
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
The author gives you a detailed view of the harsh Mongol terrain and their culture. Their heavy dependence on erratic weather conditions and difficult life as nomads. The author also talks about significant actions and happenings in the surrounding kingdoms and the political situation which helps paint a complete picture of the Mongolian world in the early 13th century. ~
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
A flawed writer takes on a supremely fascinating story.

The story of the mongol conquests is one of the most intriguing and beguiling in all of world history. So it is a small wonder that I swallowed this book in just a few days. It begins terrifically, painting the scene of the sacking of Baghdad, and all the horrors that went along with it. It also ends (kinda), with a conclusion chapter in which Mclynn discusses the various attitudes and takes there are on the Genghis and the mongols; from his
H. P.
May 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Genghis Khan was the greatest conqueror the world has ever known. He consolidated the disparate clans and tribes of Mongolia. He conquered the Jin (northern China) and Kwarezmian (Persia) empires. “The Mongol empire covered twelve million contiguous square miles—an area as large as Africa and bigger than North America; by contrast the extent of the Roman empire was about half that of the continental U.S.A. . . . The modern population of the countries ruled by the empire at its greatest extent [t ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Genghis Khan: The Man Who Conquered the World
By Frank McLynn

Genghis Khan by Frank McLynn is a wonderful biography of one of the most interesting military commanders and statesmen in history.

From his childhood in poverty, to meteoric rise born of careful risk taking and brilliant political and military manoeuvres. Not to mention some fortuitous luck of circumstances! The life of Temujin (later known as Genghis Khan) is an adventure like few others. Alliances, betrayals, childhood friends turned
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frank McLynnn chronicles the life of Genghis from his early years as Temujin to his conquests as Genghis. The level of detail, for anyone who doesn't already know the chronology of Genghis's life, turns this into a genuine page-turner that almost seems like a fictional medieval fantasy.

Starting with a little historical background about Mongolia, which is essential to understanding the environment into which Genghis was born, McLynn proceeds with the story of his early years, fraternal power stru
James Varney
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Torn between 3 and 4 stars, I'm docking it one because of poor maps. Check out the reviews - you'll see this is a common complaint and such criticism is warranted as there are only 3 of them and they are at the beginning. This requires a lot of flipping back and forth, and with a book of several hundred pages this is a real hassle.

What McLynn has written, on the other hand, is fascinating. At times, it does seem like a long litany of outrageous, bloody behavior as the Mongols sweep northern Chin
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: central-asia
If you are looking for a straightforward bio of the Khan of Khans, you may need to look no further than this monument. I took it to Uzbekistan to help imagine the siege and reduction of Bukhara and Samarkand.

Genghis Khan spent the greater part of his career in Central Asia, leaving his top general Muqali to flail away at China and conquer the future territories of his grandson Kublai Khan.

It is all here, and it is more than a biography. It's a history really, and a jumping off point for further
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
An interesting subject made a bit dry by plodding writing. That with the authors tendency to regurgitate huge amounts of names be it tribes or people and then only reference them on one or more occasions made the book a bid of a bore. There were also a few factual assertions that were just plain wrong, though to be honest I didn't even denote them because I was pretty bored at that point. As someone who loves this particular time period and subject matter I cant recommend this book to any but th ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
At times reading this history of Mongol Empire (as it really covers a generation past Genghis), it could seem like an endless parade of battles, slaughter and massacres. Admittedly, that's what the Mongols did. However, the author is careful to weave in the culture, political intrigue and personality of the key characters in this history. It's a weighty book and the names can be tough at times for someone not familiar with Far Eastern History (however, there's a nice "cast of characters" summary ...more
Rejoice Tapon
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a giant book, it focuses on the whole picture of the Khan's armies, their campaigns and the countries they conquered.

I wish the author have condensed some of the information. The book is overly detailed.
The book provides army numbers for each battle and went into long-winded explanations of the conquered countries. But Of course, to fully understand why the Mongols were that successful, Still, the book could have been shorter if not for the over details.
Stewart Cotterill
Rather than say I finished this book I'm having to say I'm finished with this book. It is, so far, the only book I've ever not finished, and that's saying something considering I read Madam Bovery for a book club meeting.

This is not an entry level book for those who are interested in the life of Genghis Khan. For those who are more familiar with him and the Mongol works then this book could be for you.

I really did try to read this book and managed 276 pages, but I've been defeated!
Sophie! i guess
Took me a VERY long time to wade my way through, but here we are! I’m not too sure how to review a history book on a subject I had no prior knowledge on, so here’s my face first impression. I learnt a lot, so that can’t be a bad thing; McLynn’s telling is also very engaging, with his dabbles of Mongolian culture here and there.
Marlene Hessdorfer
You have to really enjoy history to make it through this one. Although it's a very interesting subject, the Mongols fought many wars and McLynn goes into each one in excruciating detail. Genghis Khan was an amazing ruler and the Mongols were the ultimate warriors so if you're into military history you'll love the book.
Al Berry
May 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
McClynn, must try hard to make a topic this interesting this boring. Factual assertions are false, for instance McClynn states the Mongols were the first people to win major battles through the use of Archery, What do we call the Parthians defeat of Crassus? Go Listen to Dan Carlie's podcast on the topic, you'll get more out of it.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Genghis Kahn is a pretty fascinating figure - standard Nomad to greatest world conqueror ever. His life and his conquests are still felt today.

This was a good, detailed book that is also a pretty fair accounting of his life. Most books either deify him or dehumanize him, but this struck a pretty balanced approach in my opinion.
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Frank McLynn is a British author, biographer, historian and journalist. He is noted for critically acclaimed biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte, Robert Louis Stevenson, Carl Jung, Richard Francis Burton and Henry Morton Stanley.

McLynn was educated at Wadham College, Oxford and the University of London. He was Alistair Horne Research Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford (1987–88) and was visiting p