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72 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful history...
Jack Weatherford's Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World was a fascinating look at the man who conquered Asia and commanded an empire unlike any that had gone before. Weatherford continues his analysis in The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire.

When hearing the name of the 13th century conqueror,...
Published on February 19, 2010 by Deborah V

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars AP World History Review: Made Connections For Me
This is a great book for people that love world history and want to learn about the true history of the Mongolia during Genghis Khan's Empire. It's an okay book for people that are forced to read it. I highly recommend the reader knowing exactly what their objective is before reading this book. The author does a very good job writing this book. His style of inserting...
Published 13 months ago by Sydney Cox


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72 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful history..., February 19, 2010
This review is from: The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire (Hardcover)
Jack Weatherford's Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World was a fascinating look at the man who conquered Asia and commanded an empire unlike any that had gone before. Weatherford continues his analysis in The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire.

When hearing the name of the 13th century conqueror, Genghis Khan, one doesn't normally think of his daughters as the reason his empire continued and expanded. Khan's four sons were basically worthless preferring to drink, fight and engage in other dissolute behavior. Khan's daughters are the ones that saved his legacy. History is unclear on much of their lives and even then number of daughters he had.

Khan, with exquisite strategy, married his daughters off to rulers along the Silk Road. He then sent their husbands off to war leaving the daughter to rule. With their power, they were able to strengthen his empire through education, religion, and trade; making the Silk Road and the surrounding territories a cohesive unit. The daughters were strong warriors and from their female descendants the Mongolian empire flourished.

If you have a liking or passion for Khan and his strategy, the history of the Mongolian Empire or women who changed history, this book will be at the top of your to-be-read pile. I would say I have a "middling" knowledge of Mongolia past and present, and the book could be a little confusing with the wealth of information, strange names and places etc. I'm hoping to go to Mongolia in the fall and my knowledge of the area through this historic telling as well as his first book certainly has increased my appreciation of how that area of the world was formed!

This book is incredibly rich in detail and history. Weatherford writes a fascinating story. It is well-researched and documented, but most importantly it is readable and not a dry rendition of the facts that make up history. Weatherford states that much about the Queens is unknown or lost to history's variances, but he does a wonderful job of linking the information that exists in a logical and sensible manner which makes sense in the context of Khan and his goals. You get a real sense of how these women changed history and took their father's legacy to the next level.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Comprehend and a Joy to Read, February 24, 2010
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This review is from: The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire (Hardcover)
After reading Jack Weatherford's "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World" I went and pre-ordered this book - and I wasn't disappointed.

The author tells a gripping story of lost history and the role the female heirs of Genghis Khan played in his Empire. While the Great Kahn was out conquering the world, his wives and daughters managed his empire, created bureaucracies, public projects and kept trade relationships alive. In a stroke of genius, Genghis Kahn married his daughters to men who ruled strategic points along the famous Silk Road which not only lent him eyes and ears in those important locations, but also established his presence even though he wasn't physically there.

These daughters weren't the timid kind; they were strong, independent women who inherited their father's political cunningness and warrior spirit. However, after Genghis Khan's death these strong women, daughters, sisters and sisters-in-law began a power struggle which lasted for centuries and eventually almost destroyed the Empire their father has built.

The book tells an astonishing tale of a once world wide Empire being torn apart by inept rulers, sibling rivalry and incompetent leaders (something I'm sure most of us can relate to) pitting mothers against sons and brothers against sisters.

The book ends with the astonishing tale of Queen Mandhuhai the Wise who reunited the Mongols while fighting the Chinese Ming dynasty and the Muslim warlords. Her successful campaigns, which she waged even when pregnant, promoted China to erect the Great Wall and preserved peace for her children and the nation.

Jack Weatherford writes in a style which transcends dry facts and dates, he brings the stories to life while drawing lines between events and people. The author realizes the names are difficult for the English speaking natives and reminds the reader every now and then who a character is when he/she reappears several pages later, which is fantastic. The information is presented in a manner which is not only linear, but also follows a certain path - which makes this book easy to comprehend and a joy to read.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In defense of the cover and illustrations, October 30, 2011
By 
Kindle Customer "Iris Rose" (beautiful northeastern California) - See all my reviews
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Ordinarily, I would put a reaction to another reviewer in a comment after his/her post. But I think that the point I am making is important enough to have its own post. The information I am putting here was taken from Weatherford's Acknowledgments at the end of the book. When younger, I usually ignored introductions, forewords, prefaces, and acknowledgements. It is a severe mistake to do so. Surprisingly important information is often contained within these sections of the book.
I have to say that my first reaction to the pen and brush drawings was delight. I was impressed with the apparent simplicity, the grace, and the essence and skill of the drawings--so much so, that I have thought about taking them from the book and putting them in simple frames to hang side by side. I have never felt this way before about an illustration.
Afer reading the acknowledgments, I am even more impressed! They are 'name-drawings!' That is, the brushstrokes not only capture the essence of the queen, but her name is also included, coded, into the drawing. Now that is remarkable! And it makes the illustration even more important and impressive. The cover is, to me, appropriate, and well done. Since the book is about the Mongol Queens, it depicts perhaps the greatest/most powerful/effective of them. She has abandoned her headdress and put on a warrior's helmet. She is horseback, as a warrior had to be, and she is in the act of firing her arrow. It says so many important things about her.
I don't want to insult the reviewer who was disappointed in the drawings, but I surely think that these are superb and support the book beautifully. I liked the drawings anyway a lot!) but reading the acknowledgements gave me great appreciation of them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars AP World History Review: Made Connections For Me, December 4, 2013
This is a great book for people that love world history and want to learn about the true history of the Mongolia during Genghis Khan's Empire. It's an okay book for people that are forced to read it. I highly recommend the reader knowing exactly what their objective is before reading this book. The author does a very good job writing this book. His style of inserting quoted text to make a point about the story helps to move it along and creates a nice easy flow to reading it. There were times it read like a text book though, especially in the beginning. The back story of Genghis Khan was pretty boring, but once the daughters are introduced and Genghis becomes Khan it starts to pick up. So just give the book some time, it does pick up. I found the secret history of the Queens quite intriguing and that is probably why, even though I could have chosen any book during the time period of 600-1450 to read, I chose this book. Why would any government not want people to know the secrets of their empire?

After reading Jack Weatherford's account my assessment was that the government didn't want people to realize it was the women who helped rise up the empire. Jack Weatherford did a great job organizing the book into 3 parts. It allowed the reader to gain appreciation for Genghis and his daughters from the beginning and you understood why Genghis Khan relied so much on his daughter's. He focused a lot men and women working together in harmony to create a great nation. The whole middle section of the book was just a sad part of Mongolian history and rather disturbing. Just a warning to all readers: be prepared to read some disturbing and horrific acts the Mongolia courts did to each other and their people to gain power. This was one part of the book I had a hard time reading. The disregard for human life that the Mongols had for each other and the "weapons of rape" they used to control people were sick. The author made it clear that Genghis Khan never wanted to be viewed as a barbarian, but the behaviors of his posterity were barbaric. After reading those sections you understand why some records were censored. Other times in Part II, you were able to comprehend the magnitude of the women and their role in keeping the Mongol Empire alive. There were times when he told the story that you felt like you were reading a fiction novel. For example, the story of Esen's men chasing down the only legitimate living descendant of Genghis Khan, baby Bayan Mongke, down and the Samur's men were racing to pick up the boy and how they grabbed him with tip of their bow and flung him up while racing on horseback (148). The style of writing just captivated me and I felt like I was reading Mary Higgins Clark. After you get past all the glamour of some of the writing, Jack Weatherford provides a lot of valuable information about Mongolia, the people, their nomadic culture. He puts a face on these people. I was able to make a lot of connections to the things I have learned in class, like trade routes, dynasties and religions. You start to fall in love with all the Queens and you respect the work they are doing for their father and for the future of Mongolia. The author wanted the reader to understand that the Empire was not totally lost after the death of Genghis Khan. It would still rise from the ashes of losing the Khubilai Khan Dynasty to China in 1368. He made sure the history was a full history of Genghis Khan's empire. The final section at times felt like a love story between the real last legitimate descendant and son of Bayan Mongke, Batu Mongke. He became, Dayan Khan and married at Manduhai Khatun. Together they would bring the Empire back and the true legacy of Genghis Khan, men and women working side by side rule would once again be fulfilled. The author set out to show how Genghis Khan's daughter helped rescue his empire. Along the way, he proved that it was the vision of the women, as rulers, that kept the empire from being erased and existing only in history books.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars recovering history, May 16, 2010
By 
M. D. Moore (Harvey, La USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire (Hardcover)
It has to be difficult to write a historical book for lay people. We are looking for a story and not the random messiness of life. Jack Weatherford manages to keep a focused eye on the women in Genghis Khan family and he manages to tie things together at the end as if this was a novel with a beginning, middle, and end. I read two-thirds of this book on one rainy day.

Some details are as amazing as history can be. Genghis Khan tells his daughters at their arranged marriages that the couple must be two shafts of one cart. "If a two shaft cart breaks the second shaft, the ox cannot pull it." He also says, "whoever can keep a house in order, can keep a territory in order." The women ran the regions that they were assigned and their husbands were drawn off to be the Khan's generals. The sons-in-law had the honor of marrying into the Khan's family, but they were taken away from their seat of power into the army. Power was left in the daughters' hands. The sexual politics are also a bit different in this time period when women had more autonomy.

Like any political and battle-filled novel, this one has its villains. After the Khan dies, his sons set about destroying the Mongol nation in their lust for power. The daughters-in-law destroy what the sons don't destroy in their attempts to secure their sons' inheritance. Some of the ways that they murder their enemies is described and it is horrendous. Even with all that, the Mongols do become rulers of China for a time before they are kicked back out to the steppes.

Weatherford brings us our "happy" ending by bringing back to life one of the last great Queens of Genghis Khan's line. When her husband is murdered, she has the choice of marrying the war leader or taking the tribe back to china to be vassals. She decides to rule instead.

As it happens, one of my roommates at LSU was Mongolian. I wish that I could press this book into her hands now. I think that she would love it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A part of our unknown World History !, August 23, 2010
A Kid's Review
I wholly agree with everything the reviewers have already expounded on, it is marvelously written, easy to read and understand.
It is very eye opening how in a span of 300 years Genghis khan's descendants managed to completely obliterate everything he stood for , especially regarding to women's hallowed position of power.
My favorite tidbit is the mention of the old men, from the procession of clans at that very first grand meeting clapping their magical rocks together to control the weather, just enough sun and just enough rain for the occasion!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars United They Stood. Divided They Fell., August 6, 2010
This review is from: The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire (Hardcover)
Five years ago, when I read Weatherford's Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World I was struck by the role of women in Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire. I thought it worthy of a book, and, voila! It is!

Weatherford is uniquely qualified to write this book and his knowledge shines through. He writes of tribes, customs, places and events giving enough description to enable westerners to understand the unfamiliar. There is a useful map and several genealogy charts.

Weatherford tells how Genghis Kahn's empowered his four daughters. When he married them into important tribes he gave them governance over them. In word and deed, Weatherford shows that GK supported these women in these roles while men served in the military. It was a workable and practical division of labor. With this system the largest empire the world has known was built.

This golden age for Mongols, both women and men, ended with GK's death in 1227, and one of his alcoholic sons, Ogodei, inherited the leadership. He effectively began a "War on Women" (the title of Chapter 5) which included acts of mass rape and the effective removal of his sisters from power. The 250 years after GK's death are characterized by internal power struggles and land disputes. Weatherford notes some interesting women in the interim period such as Khutulun who rejected suitors (many) who could not beat her in battle; however, in this period, almost everyone loses from the Mongols' disunity. Finally, Queen Manduhai accepts the hand of a 7 year old whom she marries and grooms. She works with and through him to unite the Mongols and secure borders for their grazing lands.

I would like to give this book 5 stars for Weatherford's work in assembling this, but have to hold back this highest honor. I believe that Weatherford's respect for the Mongols and their accomplishments results in his presenting some people and events in a better light than warrented. Some of the brutal acts of both men and women are described in rather mild language. Since I don't know enough about the Mongols to really evaluate how euphemistic this actually is, I would not have held back the fifth star for this alone, but a 5 star book needs a 5 star book design. There is nothing about the cover, the title, the choice of type face or the paper that suggests this is the serious work that it is. It has the look and feel of a work of pop fiction. The only design elements that reflect the quality of the research are the elegant brush paintings (almost like calligraphy) that introduce each part.

I recommend this book for those interested in the history of this period and those interested in women's roles in history. I hope material like this finds a wider audience and a place in world history/civilization curricula.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Info about Mongol Queens, July 3, 2012
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Very informative book; jam packed with info about the Mongol Queens that I don't think the average person knows. I certainly didn't. These queens were as fierce as the men, if not more so. Genghis Khan sired great Queens, not just great Kings and warriors. These women could fight and hold their empires and Khan knew it. Only history trys to erase the womans value to society. This book goes a great way in putting into place that true history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Original, September 30, 2013
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It's a truly original work that does away with misconceptions about the Mongols, about women in general, and about the Middle Ages. What you read here, you won't find easily anywhere else. The research work involved must have been overwhelming. And it's written in such a way that you don't necessarily have to have read his other books, or any other book about Mongols, in order to understand this one. Strongly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History at its best, September 25, 2012
Okay, it's a cliche to call a history "eye-opening," but if Jack Weatherford did a great job arguing for the importance (and largely positive impact) of Genghis Khan to world history, "The Secret History of the Mongol Queens" recovers a slice of history that has escaped the notice of most professional historians. Genghis Khan had several sons, all of whom were dissolute, alcoholic disappointments; his daughters and daughters-in-law, in contrast, proved to be up to the task of managing and even extending the empire their father built. Genghis used a strategic set of arranged marriages to build alliances with neighboring states and protect the Mongol homeland; his daughters came to rule those states, while his sons-in-law, "honored" with commands in the Khan's army, had a rather high mortality rate.

For decades after his death, the Mongol Queens continued to rule, promoting trade, travel, religious tolerance, and education. (At least in comparison to their European contemporaries, they were quite enlightened.) All this eventually fell apart, and the queens were literally erased from the history books (Weatherford talks about torn pages of ancient histories that begin to discuss the queens, but have vanished).

It's a remarkable story, and one I look forward to sharing one day with my daughter.
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