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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  40,334 ratings  ·  2,410 reviews
Weatherford resurrects the true history of Genghis Khan, from the story of his relentless rise through Mongol tribal culture to the waging of his devastatingly successful wars and the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed.
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published March 22nd 2005 by Broadway Books (first published 2004)
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Dylan Crossen Weatherford's main citation for Genghis (or Chinggis) Kahn's personal life is "The Secret History of the Mongols." He also references plenty of…moreWeatherford's main citation for Genghis (or Chinggis) Kahn's personal life is "The Secret History of the Mongols." He also references plenty of historians and commentators from a variety of countries and time periods to get an idea of how the world perceived the Mongols.

It's a fun dramatized narrative to read and I'd recommend it as a jumping off point for an interest in the Genghis and the Mongols. However, it is by no means a comprehensive text. Hope this helps friend! :D(less)
Alex It's written by a white American, in English.

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Grace Tjan
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, ebook, medieval, 2012
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
...more
Dem
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
Having listened a couple of years kago to the 5 Star captivating and detailed podcast by Funjokyk Dan Carlin - HardCore HistroyWrath of the KhansWrath of the Khans (Hardcore History, #43-47) by Dan Carlin I became fascinated with Genghis Khan and when this book came up on my recommendation feed in GoodReads I decided to revisit this period in history

The Mongols existed during the 13th and 14th centuries and was the largest contiguous land empire in history. They were experienced rulers way ahead of their time not only in in military terms but also in
...more
Chrissie
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Lee Broderick
Aug 26, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Mike
Oct 05, 2018 rated it liked it
So while I rated this at three stars I don't want you to think this is not a good book or that you shouldn't pick it up. It is actually a rather good introductory book about Genghis Khan and the Mongols. It does a wonderful job discussing Genghis's early life (an area that I knew little about) and showed how the traumas of his youth (which were legion) influenced the man and empire builder he became. It was rather illuminating in that regard, even as it related the story of the Mongols I was ...more
Lara
May 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Vaishali
A book 17 years in the making, packed with superlatives & spiced with hyperbole. The author's cheerleading aside, Khan's numbers and creativity will thrill and bewilder you. Alexander? Caesar? Mere light-weights who statistically pale next to this titan... it's not even close.

Massive Mongol Moments :
----------------------

"In 25 years, the Mongol army subjugated more lands and people than the Romans had conquered in 400 years.”

“In American terms, the accomplishments of Genghis Khan might be
...more
George
"Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World" by Jack Weatherford is both an account of the life and empire of Genghis Khan (1162-1227) and, unfortunately, a series of unsubstantiated claims about the empire's positive contributions to the world.

I wanted to like this book but, the more I read, the more I was bothered by what seem to me to be unsubstantiated and "over the top" claims by the author. Since I know little about Asian history, I can only assume that the first part of the book is
...more
Jamie
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
The rise of Genghis Khan, the spread of his immense empire, the surprisingly farsighted policies he implemented, the intrigues of his successors, and the way Europe and Asia were changed in their wake make for an interesting book with lots of colorful characters and dramatic events. Genghis’s rise from an orphaned nobody dependent on the good will of others to absolute command of the largest empire in history is a remarkable story, a combination of intelligence, boldness, guile, and ...more
Max
Jun 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-history
Weatherford relates the remarkable story of Genghis Khan as told in The Secret History of the Mongols. Born in 1162, Genghis Khan grew up an uneducated outcast on the Asian steppes. He learned through harsh experience to be an astute judge of people, to be self-reliant and to be completely ruthless. He set his own traditions. He valued loyalty first followed by competence. Lineage and social standing did not matter. He was a great organizer and quick study, taking the best ideas from each ...more
Jamie
May 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Ross Blocher
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the fun of books: I didn't have any specific, overweening desire to learn about Genghis Khan, but saw this available in an Audible 2-for-1 deal and thought, "Sure! I could stand to know more about him." 14 hours, 20 minutes later and I'm really glad I did: Genghis Khan had an out-sized influence on the modern world, and a surprising amount of information is (an is not) known about him. Jack Weatherford has done an admirable job of assembling it in one place. It was fascinating to learn ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
I enjoyed this book by Weatherford on the incredible Genghis Khan. I had no idea how much influence he had on the modern world: the first global currency from the Mediterranean to the Pacific, the first intercontinental mail service, and a religion-free state. It was surprising to learn that this last principle was one which Genghis held very dear. There was one fascinating episode where a group of Islamic heretical extremists called the Assassins (in fact the English word "assassin" takes its ...more
Becky
3.5 Stars, really.

I listened to this audiobook last night, and I found it to be pretty interesting and humanizing to a person that is usually given a pretty bad rap in high school history classes. Usually we're taught that he was a ruthless conqueror who killed hundreds of thousands, millions? Lots of people. But never anything about the man, the person, he is aside from that. How did he grow up to be this man, and why?

This is the story that this book seeks to tell. And it is a fascinating
...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
...more
Hesamul Haque
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never really thought history can be so much interesting. What past is there behind us! How did we come so far! What happened during those times when there was no exposure!
Reading about Genghis Khan was a marvelous time spent with the book. He had a very rough childhood and his father died when he was very young leaving his mother alone with his brothers to take care.
Undoubtedly, he was extremely intelligent and also a military genius. He used psychlogy during wars. His enemies used to fear him
...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
Alice Poon

This book gives me a whole new perspective on 13th and 14th century world history. It also helps me understand a little more about the Yuan Dynasty in Chinese history (e.g. I learned that it was probably the outbreak of the bubonic plague that led the Mongolian rulers to become paranoid and begin to alienate and repress the Chinese population whom they believed to have been the source of the horrible pestilence).

I'm really glad that I found this non-fiction title after having read Urgunge Onon's
...more
Victoria Evangelina Allen
~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
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
Sean Chick
This was a very depressing book. It confirms my belief that for people morality is less important than if someone is on your "team." For Weatherford, Genghis Khan is team globalization, so the book is really a long-form apologia for mass murder and conquest.

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World is based on two pillars. One is the idea that the Mongols created the modern ethos of free trade, one world government, religious toleration, feminism (sort of), and learning. The other is that
...more
Laureen
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was such an eye opener. I did lose little parts of it to traffic concentration. I have always been fascinated by Genghis Khan but this history goes from the 13th Crntury through to present times when GK'sgreat family continued to try and r ulster the Great Khan's methods and principles. Some expanded his legacy, others didn't do so well but all Momgols would have to be in awe of this man. Recommended to all who like to delve into our past in a scholarly way.
stormin
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
This was a really incredible book for a lot of reasons, and it's going to take me a little bit of time to unpack it.

First and foremost, the book successfully overthrew everything I thought I knew about those rampaging Mongol hordes. Now, you think you know how this is going to go: a historical figure we used to think was a hero becomes a villain or (in this case) vice versa. But it's not that simple. The book in no way glorifies Genghis. But it convinced me that we have his legacy all wrong.

...more
Esme
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
https://wordpress.com/post/weatherwax...

I don't have a strong background in History, during my high school and college years History was something I had to labor through to get to the fun stuff - chemistry and biology!

As I get older though I'm trying to close the gap in my education through Biographies and History books because it irks me that I didn't take it seriously when I was younger.

This is my first book pertaining to Khan, but I had watched several documentaries on him before. This book
...more
Adam
Review of the audiobook narrated by Jonathan Davis.

There is much about the history of the Mongols that I had learned only obliquely in the past so it was great to read a dedicated chronicle about them. It was an interesting mix of both a forward thinking culture and one which frightened the rest of the world with their barbarism (both real and imagined). Genghis Khan himself has a truly compelling story and the inability for the Mongols to sustain such a massive and influential empire is both a
...more
Mo Moses
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A staggering and insightful cultural retrospective that brings to life vivid scenes from Khan’s time. The narrative weaves around the globe and through time to link with many things, phrases, objects, clothing of which I was familiar, but had until now, no real logistical links back to their origins.

So, now that I know on whom to blame the invention of pants, I’ll overlook this massive grudge I’m still nurturing, and love Khan as much as the Mongolians.

So much of historical figures are
...more
11811 (Eleven)
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never really studied this end of history beyond the military-conquering perspective and this book had a lot to add. Slow start but I'm glad I stuck it out. For what it's worth, I kept thinking of George Martin's Dothraki in Game of Thrones. Also, my balls hurt a little when I think about riding on a wooden saddle.
Vismay
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Let me tell you from the very outset, Genghis Khan was not a Muslim who perpetrated various acts of violence against the people of India. Furthermore, he even failed to mount a conquest on India as he found the weather to be too hot. Genghis Khan was a Mongol and a shaman who believed in the ‘eternal blue sky’. Though other Mongols adopted Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, he himself stayed true to his roots, while establishing a secular state which extended from Russia to Afghanistan, &

...more
Katie Lumsden
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really great history - engagingly written and definitely opening up an area of history I knew nothing about.
David
Jan 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-history
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
...more
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Badass Book Club PDX: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World 2 19 Nov 09, 2015 06:57PM  
Children of book ...: Reading Genghis Kahn, making of the modern world 1 2 Jul 10, 2015 09:50PM  
general discussion 7 49 Jun 29, 2013 11:15AM  
For anyone wishing to understand modern history 6 110 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 ...more
“The first key to leadership is self-control.” 50 likes
“If you can't swallow your pride, you can't lead. Even the highest mountain had animals that step on it.” 47 likes
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