- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 14 hours and 19 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.com Release Date: February 16, 2010
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0038NLWQ2
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
The best thing in the book, to my taste, is Weatherford's own knowledge from anthropological on-the-ground research. He knows the steppe and the feel of a Mongol horse under him. He can thus get a real perspective on how the Mongols actually experienced the world (like the great old-timers--Pozdnyev, Curtin--but unlike many modern Mongolists). Next best is his proper crediting of the Mongols for introducing new knowledge all over Eurasia--gunpowder and printing and much else to Europe, Greco-Persian-Arab medicine and foodways to China.
The worst is his inattention to detail. He makes some astonishing errors. Some reviewers have picked out a few. He retails the old chestnut (reportedly from a romantic novel) that the Mongols introduced noodles from China to Europe. No, Europe had them 800 years earlier. Worse is his repeating (p. 87) the old nonsense about the Mongols eating raw meat warmed between their thighs and the horses' backs. This factoid was spun by Ammianus Marcellinus, talking about steppe nomads centuries before the Mongols. It was almost certainly wrong then, and it is quite certainly wrong for the Mongols. The Mongols had the good sense to avoid raw meat, especially dirty raw meat.
So, read with caution. If this book whets your appetite, the next step is the books by Paul Ratchnevsky (on Genghis) and Morris Rossabi (on his successors and their world). And you might even tackle the Secret History, now made available (though expensive) by the indefatigable Igor de Rachewilz, who is properly acknowledged by Weatherford.
What resulted from these innovations was unprecedented: an army with the same benefits of speed and maneuver that had always been a part of the traditional tactics of the tribes of the steppe melded together with an effective bureaucratic leadership that was very different from the typical kin-based and ad hoc tribal relationships. This was Temujin's creation, and he perfected it in numerous battles to unify Mongolia under his leadership. In 1206, two years after the final battle to assume control of all Mongolia, he took the name Genghis Khan, and prepared to take his army out into the world.
Jack Weatherford's remarkable narrative of these events captures the creativity of Genghis Khan and the Mongols in a way that no book I've read before ever has.Read more ›
Unfortunately, the author is so enthusiastic about promoting the achievements of the Mongols that he often ventures into hyperbole, and worse, miss-statements of fact, especially about the histories of the nations he is comparing to the Mongols. This undercuts his credibility.
The author's claims that the Mongol invasions introduced wearing trousers in battle to the West. In fact, trousers were popular among the Celts (including the Britons) for thousands of years, as they were among invading "barbarians" such as Goths and the Parthians. The Greeks and Romans wore kilts, but many of their neighbors wore trousers long before the Mongols.
The author says that in World War II, the Red Army was imitating the Mongol tactic of feigned retreat when they "lured" the German army deep into Russia to destroy it. In fact, Stalin repeatedly ordered his generals to stand fast and not give an inch. The reason the Red Army repeatedly fell back was because they were repeatedly beaten. This is not an esoteric point. How could a professor writing history on a global scale not know this?
The author says that the last Mogul Emperor's sons were executed in India so that Queen Victoria could take the Imperial title. This is just plain silly. The Emperor himself was sent into exile with other family members. His sons were executed for their purported roles in the Sepoy Rebellion as part of a bloody reprisal.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent all around. It takes a reader far beyond the western stereotype of a brutal destroyer from an Asian vacuum. Genghis becomes the leader he truly is in world history. Read morePublished 1 day ago by jimbo531
A great read! Lots of information about the Khans, presented in a very readable format. I'm a little unsure of the actual historical accuracy of some of the material, as the... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Kevin C Payne
Neat but was too much of a hagiography of Genghis and the mongols.Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
Very engaging and thorough review of the man and culture of the period from both a local and more global perspective. Read morePublished 12 days ago by EJV
Excellent! Open up a whole new historical perspective for me.Published 20 days ago by Douglas M Dwyer