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The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History: How Genghis Khan's Mongols Almost Conquered the World Paperback – February 1, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1592333981 ISBN-10: 1592333982

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The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History: How Genghis Khan's Mongols Almost Conquered the World + Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World + The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Fair Winds Press (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592333982
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592333981
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 7.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Thomas Craughwell’s narrative is at once approachable and illuminating, and he has a gift for finding the telling detail. The Mongols ride again in this marvel of erudition.” Cormac O’Brien, author of The Forgotten History of America



“Everything you’ve ever wanted to know—or shuddered at knowing—about the Mongols is here, from the stack of forty million dead bodies they piled up in their wake to the very real peace, the Pax Mongolica, that made all of Asia safe for commerce and opened up known world to new ideas and technologies. In all, great sweeping history from a superb writer.” —Joseph Cummins, author of The World’s Bloodiest History and The War Chronicles



“Thomas J. Craughwell shows us how Genghis Khan and his grandson Kublai created a ‘Pax Mongolia,’ which endured nearly a century and brought to some 9 million square miles of our planet stability and a level of civilization previously unknown. Were the Mongols cruel? Often. Fierce? Always. Mindless? Never. Here is the fascinating story of history’s most misunderstood empire builders.” —Alan Axelrod, author of Little-Known Wars of Great and Lasting Impact and Patton’s Drive

About the Author

Thomas J. Craughwell (Bethel, CT) is the author of a dozen books, including Failures of the Presidents, How the Barbarian Invasions Shaped the Modern World, and Stealing Lincoln’s Body (Harvard University Press, March 2007). He has written articles on history, religion, and popular culture for The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, and U.S. News & World Report


More About the Author

After four years in a doctoral program studying medieval English literature, three years as a copywriter for Book-of-the-Month Club, and one year as a marketing director for a pricey, upscale travel company, I went into business for myself as a full-time writer in 1992. (Yeah. I can't believe the business has stayed afloat this long either).
As a writer, I really don't specialize; my resume is all over the map. I developed the concept and wrote the script for History Book Club's first television commercial. I've written direct mail for Time-Life Books, TV Guide, The Reader's Digest, Hilton Hotels, and the American Banking Association. I wrote the original Barnes & Noble web site; a series of online e-learning business, finance, and banking courses for the New York Institute of Finance; and a special "History of the Paperback" web site to celebrate Quality Paperback Book Club's 25th anniversary. My 50 States Fandex cards (Workman Publishing, 1998) have sold 700,000 copies (!). And I've published articles in a variety of newspapers and magazines--from The Wall Street Journal to Emmy magazine to the national Catholic news weekly Our Sunday Visitor.
My first book, Every Eye Beholds You: A World Treasury of Prayer (Harcourt Brace, 1999), was a Main Selection of both Book-of-the-Month Club and Quality Paperback Book Club. My book on patron saints, Saints for Every Occasion (Stampley Enterprises, 2001) has been translated into Spanish, Italian, and Polish.
I'm not a professional talking head, but I've been invited to discuss saints, the canonization process, and Catholic history on CNN, EWTN, Ave Maria Radio; and urban legends on the BBC, The Discovery Channel, Inside Edition, and approximately 75 radio stations.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Very informative, and very easy read.
Derek Chidester
As a bonus, the book is printed on heavy, glossy paper a real cut above the typical paperback book.
L. F. Smith
I like reading to learn and I learned a lot when I read this.
Shirley Sacks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By AmazonIMP. on May 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book after reading How The Barbarian Invasions Shaped The Modern World by the same author. If you enjoyed his previous book that I mentioned earlier then you will love this book as well. It provides great information along with beautiful pictures to give more insight in most cases. If you pair this book with other history books and history tv specials this book becomes even more enjoyable. I highly recommend it for someone that loves history and is just looking for a fun but informative read about the Mongols.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Collins on July 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In the history of the world, the empire of the Mongols became, at its peak, the second largest empire in history, only surpassed by the British Empire in the twentieth century. It would be the largest continuous empire under the rule of a single person.

The book starts off with some biographical details about Temujin's early life. Temujin would be known to history as Genghis Khan. He would rise up in the military to unite feuding Mongol tribes to create a new, unified Mongol nation. Instead of fighting each other, the Mongols began conquering a large part of the Asian continent, using mainly their cavalry, as the Mongols did not practice the use of infantry, and later siege weapons to take over fortified towns. The Mongol war machine would expand the empire across Asia at a truly extraordinary rate. At its peak, the Mongol Empire would stretch from eastern Europe in the west, Korea in the east, China in the south, and Siberia in the north.

Despite beginning a great expansion starting in the thirteenth century, the empire as a unified entity did not last long. By the end of the thirteenth century, the empire had split up into four smaller, and essentially sovereign, nations, including what would become the shortest dynasty in Chinese history, the Yuan.

I found The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History to be an enjoyable overview of the Mongol Empire. This is not meant to be an in-depth look at the Mongols. There are no advanced discussions about battles or military strategy. Only a few key battles are discussed in detail. I would recommend this book to those who are interested in learning some basics about Mongols and their Empire.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Eric Kun on May 24, 2013
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Craughwell's book of the Mongol empire is a brief overview of the origins and downfall of the Mongols. The first half of the book is a decent history of Genghis' early formative years, but by the time Craughwell is documenting the Mongol forays into Eastern Europe, he relates a series wars with brief summaries that includes key names and major events. Little detail is given regarding the key battles in Hungary or Poland, and a scant one page overview is given of the failed attempts to invade Japan.

This book would serve well as educational text in a 6th or 7th grade classroom, with its easy to read text and gorgeous illustrations of classic paintings depicting the Mongols, but for an adult looking for an in depth review of key battles and events in the Mongol Empire, keep looking.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By BobR on August 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Despite the many positive reviews Craughwell's book received, I do not recommend it. While it was easy enough to read, someone who reads a lot of history may find - as I did - that it is amateurishly written and that the structure lacks any deeper insight or ambition than to provide a chronological record of the Mongols rise and influence and subsequent fall.
Social and political context of the world in which the Mongols rose to power was limited to asides and only the most whispy references. The Silk Road is referred to a number of times, but its track through the center of the Mongol empire is never treated as anything more than a geographical coincidence. The empire's climax - the uniting of north and south in China - is handled in a few pages. I found the book unambitious in its scope, its writing and its editing. The overall impact is that it was like reading a 200-plus-page high school research paper.
And finally, it was poorly formatted for the Kindle, with chapter headings, callouts and sidebars all mingling with the body text in a way that was confusing, disruptive and annoying.
There has got to be a better book on this subject, and I recommend doing a bit more searching before settling on this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. F. Smith VINE VOICE on May 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very well done book, but it's important to understand the author's purpose. It is not an academic book or even a scholarly treatment of the history of the Mongol empire and the key figures involved.

Instead, it is a survey of the history of the empire, its culture, and the personalities who were prominent, all related in a narrative, nearly conversational way. There are numerous large colored illustrations and a few maps. It is a very readable book that will more than meet the needs of a more or less casual reader who wants to know more about this very interesting but little known period. As a bonus, the book is printed on heavy, glossy paper a real cut above the typical paperback book.

I liked the book a lot. I wish it had had a few more maps, but that's just a personal preference. I'm much better informed than I was before I read it, and I was entertained in the process of becoming informed. However, this isn't the book for you if you're looking for a scholarly treatment.
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