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The Mongols (Peoples of Europe) Paperback – January 15, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0631175636 ISBN-10: 0631175636

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell (January 15, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631175636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631175636
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,540,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"The appearance of a new, well-done general history is a welcome event. The outcome is an excellent and readable account." Middle East Studies Association Bulletin

"Excellent work, the best that we have of its kind" Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

"Well-written, well-documented presentation, with an excellent - exceptionally accurate - bibliography. I know of no better book to give a general view of the "great" epoch of Mongol History." English Historical Review

Book Description

The Mongol Empire was the largest continuous land empire known to history, its violent creation the major political event of the thirteenth century world. Yet little is known the history of Christendom's most formidable eastern neighbour. In this classic history, David Morgan explains how the vast Mongolian Empire was organized and governed, examining the religious and political character of the steppe nomadic society. He assesses the astonishing military career of Chingiz (Genghis) Khan, considers the nature of Mongol imperial government, and the effects of Mongol campaigns on the countries and peoples they conquered in China, Russia, Persia and Europe. His narrative extends to the collapse of the Empire and the formation of a People's Republic as a Russian satellite state. For this second edition, the author provides a new epilogue assessing the contribution of recent scholarship to our understanding of the Mongols' history, and updating his own interpretations in light of those advances. This new chapter, together with an updated bibliography, will refresh the book for a new generation of readers. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

It is workmanlike in tone, but to put it mildly, very dry.
Robert J. Crawford
Strongly recommended for those interested in an introduction to the Mongols.
doc peterson
In all, Morgan provides a good, concise overview of a fascinating subject.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Vincent on June 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
In the wake of Jack Weatherford's extremely popular "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World," I'm guessing interest in Genghis Khan and his Mongolian Empire is reaching new heights. I must admit that I, too, was introduced into the fascinating world of the Mongolians through Weatherford's bestseller, so I owe him alot for introducing to me what I consider a new passion in life.

Weatherford's work, while being extremely well researched and well written, is extremely revisionist, and gives a very forgiving and optimistic account of Genghis Khan, his predecessors, and their abilities. Weatherford takes great pains to combat the traditional stereotypes of Genghis Khan and the Mongolians as barbaric, mass-murdering hordes. At the same time, I feel that since for many people Weatherford's book will be the very first people read about the Mongols, alot of people will get an impression of the Mongols that is a little too favorable and optimistic, and this is where David Morgan's "The Mongols" comes in.

"The Mongols" is, in a word, sober. On one hand, it definitely breaks away from the precedent set by medieval scholars in viewing Genghis Khan and the Mongols as purely forces of wanton destruction. Whenever Morgan evaluates a primary source, which he does often, he takes great pains to weed out any political motivations to skewer numbers and accounts that existed at the time, of which there were many. This means that Morgan never overestimates Mongol detruction, but he doesn't underestimate it either, which what Weatherford seems to have done, basing his book on select sources. I therefore recommend "The Mongols" as a good, middle-of-the-road source for establishing the historical events of the 12th to 13th century.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By MarkK VINE VOICE on September 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Morgan's book is easily the best introduction to one of the more interesting peoples of history. It's as much an account of the historiography of Mongol studies as it is a study of the Mongol people, as Morgan details the extant sources available to modern scholars for the subject. This is important, given the scope of the Mongol empire, which at its peak reached from China to Hungary, encompassing all that was in between. Such breadth of conquest places great demands on historians, limiting anybody who is not a polyglot of the languages of the era to base their study on the region in which they specialize and translations of the other languages. A student of Persian, Morgan makes an excellent case for the quality of the sources in that language.
Still, the lack of a written Mongolian language (not developed until the reign of Chingiz Khan) means that much of the history of the empire is lost to us, and that what does exist is produced by outsiders. Nevertheless, Morgan does a first-rate job of describing its expansion and operation. He explains that the Mongols owed their incredible success to their use of mounted warriors, a natural role for a nomadic people. This heavy use of horses both gave them and also limited their conquests: Morgan theorizes that inadequate pastureland may have been a critical factor in the withdrawal of Mongol invaders from both Hungary in 1242 and Syria in 1260. But the most revealing factor of the importance of the Mongol army in its historical achievements lay in the overthrow of Mongol rule; it was in the areas where the Mongols were able to maintain their nomadic lifestyles (and thus their military advantage) that Mongol control proved most enduring. In all, Morgan provides a good, concise overview of a fascinating subject.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on May 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very academic introduction to the Mongol people and more particularly, the empire founded by Genghis Khan. Written at the undergraduate level, it provides the basics as well as a sense of the state of the field, i.e. what is known, what is not, and what needs to be done. It is workmanlike in tone, but to put it mildly, very dry.

The beginning seemed designed to turn off all but the most determined reader. It is a scholarly overview of the original sources on the Mongols. While this is very interesting - to read them in the original it would require knowledge of Chinese, Persian, Turkish and Arabic at a minimum - the place for it is an afterward, or even footnotes, not 30 pages of turgid prose, that is, if you want to spark interest in a lay reader rather than count on academic obligation to get through it.

The same is true of the conclusion, which is an overview of scholarship since 1985, i.e. when the first edition was published. There you get served the dullest array of academic controversies, many of which are choices of emphasizing one interpretation over the others, e.g. were the Mongols really as brutal as their reputation or did they bring good to those they governed? An essential question, but the way that it is presented in unspeakably boring and reeks of intellectuals taking a stand in order to develop interpretations (however silly or unrealistic) in order to advance their careers. Indeed, that this is tacked on as a final chapter rather than integrated into the text is a sign of laziness if you ask me. There is no wrapup, but instead this stilted and rambling discussion of who is saying what at the moment.

That leaves a scant 150 pages for all of the historical information on the Mongols.
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