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The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire Hardcover – February 16, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating sequel to Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. Describes with captivating prose the still emerging history of the daughters and female ancestors of Genghis... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Friend of Books
Jack Weatherforfd is an outstanding writer. I enjoy history, and this is the most well written book I have read on the subject. I have had a hard time putting this book down. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Anne Wetzel
Like Weatherford's other books, this is a corrective for the revisionist history out there...Published 2 months ago by land lover
I read the earlier book several years ago and enjoyed it immensely. I'm reading this new one now and am very happy to have the rest of the story.Published 2 months ago by sinclair
I have read this book 2 or 3 times and it is still on the shelf where I can grab it. I traveled to Mongolia in 1994 and camped with nomads near the Kherlen River where they told me... Read morePublished 2 months ago by jigme
Not for me. I was expecting a rich, story. This is a history book. Not my style of reading. Too dry. Sorry!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer