Genghis Khan, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Genghis Khan - creator of the greatest empire the world has ever seen - is one of history's immortals.

In Central Asia, they still use his name to frighten children.

In China, he is honoured as the founder of a dynasty.

In Mongolia he is the father of the nation. In the USA, Time magazine, voted Genghis Khan 'the most important person of the last millennium'.

But how much do we really know about this man? How is it that an unlettered, unsophisticated warrior-nomad came to have such a profound effect on world politics that his influence can still be felt some 800 years later?

How he united the deeply divided Mongol peoples and went on to rule an empire that stretched from China in the east to Poland in the west (one substantially larger than Rome's at its zenith) is an epic tale of martial genius and breathtaking cruelty.

John Man's towering achievement in this book, enriched by his experiences in China and Mongolia today, is to bring this little-known story vividly and viscerally to life.


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Overall this is a very readable and interesting biography. You really get a feel for Genghis's ongoing importance in China and Mongolia and the wider region, as well for the times in which he lived. On the whole, I liked the approach in this book and even at times preferred the author's narrations of his own journeys and investigations to the dry history. I think the maps could have better: more of them inserted at the appropriate point, with clear indications of where these locations are today. I also think more emphasis could have been placed of why I, sitting comfortably in Western Europe today, should care about Genghis's life. Even though he built up a large empire, it was nonetheless in a part of the world that still largely remains unknown to Western Europeans. Yes, at one point his empire touched on the eastern borders of Central Europe, but is this enough?I've read one other book by John Man, his book on the alphabet. Despite that subject being of more interest to me than this one, I found the style of this book much more readable.

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