Bryn Hammond's Reviews > The Mongol Empire: Its Rise and Legacy

The Mongol Empire by Michael Prawdin
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it was amazing
bookshelves: steppe-history, website-widget

Why do I like this one? It's an older book - the German dates from 1935, as far as I can determine; I've seen it scorned as a less than serious contender in Mongol histories. I didn't expect much when I read it.

It has a concept of nomad history as a whole. It runs from Jenghiz Khan to Tamerlane and afterwards, more briefly, to decline in modern times. Read this through and you gain a sense (or Prawdin's ideas) of the movement of that history over time. What are these nomads about? Prawdin does have ideas on that, which makes him worth a read. He sees Jenghiz as the nomads' champion. His account of Tamerlane is the only one that has interested me in that guy. It makes sense of the campaigns of Jenghiz and offers strategic insights too.

The nomads won a battle but lost the war - as seen over the centuries, as Prawdin sees.

It has the asset of being a lively, story-like read. This history of course is as exciting as a novel, and there's no earthly reason why an historian can't evoke that excitement: he needn't lose his name for serious intent. In this attitude - as also for his vision over centuries of nomad history - he reminds me of Rene Grousset, another who wrote in the 1930s. Did they have a sense for big history back then, for cohesive history, and nothing against engagement in the events they have to tell of? I like their style.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 10, 2012 – Shelved
January 10, 2012 – Shelved as: steppe-history
October 26, 2012 – Shelved as: website-widget

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