A very good book to complement the books of Conn Iggulden regarding Genghis Khan, that I loved. The end was good because Subotai's work was rewarded by a good if simple and peaceful old age. Nothing was mentioned of disease that could have made his end very nasty, as was the case with the 2 brothers of Genghis Khan (according to mr Iggulden) which I was very sad to have read. The parts that described the war, the armour and the weaponery was not fascinating for me but I can imagine it would be to people who like that sort of descriptions, in such detail. Thanks to the author for this book and also to Amazon to have included this book in her collection.
A must read for a student of military science. This book covers the campaigns of Subotai, who fought in the western Mongol Empire. It was the most mobile and modern army of its time, often defeating armies of much greater size through the skill of Subotai. The Mongol army was the first to use many innovations used by todays modern armies. Most Europeans unaware of how close they came to be dominated by the Mongols.
Great book, shows you how the Mongols were organized and gave "freedom" to individual commanders. They did not have to wait for "central authority." It fit the Mongolian character this style of leadership. This also was "transferred" to people's like the Russians, who still operate like this as I write this. Gabriel is best when he uses his "out of the box" thinking (Battles of the Bible-DVD). He story is shorter and more interesting than many other longer histories of the Mongols.
I have to say I really enjoyed this book, but I love reading about Mongolian military campaigns so I am easy to please. There is a very finite amount of information available on Subotai the man, so Gabriel needs to be cut a little slack if he filled the book with a lot of other information.
The author is absolutely correct that not enough attention is paid by military historians regarding the incredibly talented field staff that commanded the forces of Genghis Khan. Perhaps a better book would rather have covered all the main staff figures instead of just Subotai. Arguments can be made of the greatness of Jochi, Mugali, Jebe and others, and whether Subotai was more brilliant is hard to know.
Even though I have read considerable Mongol history, I found some very useful information and really did enjoy reading the book. For example the description on p120 regarding the Battle of Liegnitz, "...The Hungarians had been steppe dwelling horse archers before settling in the Danube basin less than 2 centuries earlier. They were well led and accustomed to the tactics of mobile warfare as practiced by the Mongols. Its an interesting question to investigate: at what distance were the Mongol's neighbors aware of their style and capabilities. Not an easy question to answer.
In the Sajo River campaign section he also adds, "...Bella's army was perhaps 100,000 strong, and outnumbered the Mongols. Comprising numerous contingents of armored knights, the major part of this army of former Magyar nomads was horse archers thoroughly familiar with Mongol tactics."
I think everything I read specifically concerning Subotai I had already read and reread via other sources, but that is not surprising. The book is well illustrated with maps and diagrams and various images of Mongols and their gear. The end of the book includes a good bibliography, though it is far from complete. If you're a Mongol fan, than I highly recommend the book.
16 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
Of the two books written by Gabriel I have read, I preferred this one as it reflected the military genius of Subotai. His assessment of Muhammed was interesting, but rather reflected the Machiavellian political machinations of Muhammed rather than any real genius as a military leader.
A great book on the Mongol General that built the Khan's Empire. It was fast paced to keep you moving through a lifetime as Subotai's Generalship expanded into Western Europe. Eastern Europe was conquered, and Western was fighting for it's survival when fate struck.
Interesting book about an outstanding general about whom little more is known than his victories. Hence the book contains relatively little early biographical information, but goes into great detail Subotai's part in the Mongol campaigns under Genghis Khan as well as under his son Ogedai. There is a wealth of information about the Mongol war machine, strategies, and deployment of resources and strategies for individual battles.
Quite readable, but I think it profits from at least some advance knowledge about the Mongols.
There are not a lot of resources regarding Genghis Khan's top generals, Subotai and Jebe. The author traces Subotai's life and rise to ( roughly ) a general or field marshal. He writes about Genghis Khan's innovations, and his inner circle of the "four dogs of war". Subotai's military career and tactics are well documented. The best part is that the author doesn't whitewash the genocide or the brutality .
One person found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?