McLynn's work is flawless; even if readers are not interested in a history, it would stand on its own as a masterwork novel of intrigue and conquest. However, this could have increased the size of the book. The author gives you a detailed view of the harsh Mongol terrain and their culture. Sweeping in its action, keen in its portraiture, acid in its condemnation of the destruction wrought by European colonial plots, this is a book that brilliantly captures the way in which the folly of the past creates the anguish of the present. Yet his lack of interest in religious nuance made him tolerant, unlike his opponents. In Baghdad, viziers are murdered. I found myself wondering how he would tackle a certain event and almost looked forward to what he had to say on certain topics.
Early on isn't so bad as he intersperses chapters on military campaigns with other ones - a chapter on the Mongol legal code, a chapter on the personality of Genghis and his kids, etc. The author begins with the geography of Mongolia. The author describes the background of the Mongol Empire incredibly well and his appendix on the Khwarezim and Qara-Khitai empires are worthy of books by themselves. This, lightly paraphrased, is how Mclynn describes hundreds of instances of complete terror, mayhem, and military ingenuity. The author's decision to organize the various Mongol conquests by place and subject matter rather than chronology was not a prudent choice given the volume of information foisted on the reader. China was always the main prize for the Mongols.
So how did an illiterate nomad rise to such colossal power, eclipsing Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Napoleon? Chang set out reluctantly on a three-year journey, finally catching up with the conqueror near Kabul. When fast readers go through a book, they do not generally assess style. This is the second biography and history of the Mongols I have read and at 704 pages, it was much shorter than the other biography I read. We also see how Khan cemented his victory; he dispersed defeated warriors the ones he didn't execute away from their homeland and from each other to minimize the possibility of future coalescing and revolt and he rewarded his soldiers with plunder, both in material treasures and in the abduction and rape of women from other tribes After Khan unified Mongolia he turned his attention to conquering neighboring countries including simultaneous wars against a divided China and a present day Iran whose ruler did not enjoy the full support of its people. This is not an entry level book for those who are interested in the life of Genghis Khan. McLynn uses an impressive amount of sources, but this book is not only a synthesis of that information; he critiques, analyzes and interprets.
United under Genghis, a strategist of astonishing cunning and versatility, they could dominate any sedentary society they chose. They loved the use of the feigned retreat. It gives you a feel of the fear that the Mongols produced and their lives. Here is one summary bit: The harshness of the Mongolian habitat and the complexities of nomadic pastoralism help to explain the many potentialities of Mongol society eventually actualised by Genghis Khan. It must be because they had offended so grievously that God had sent this Muslim to chastise them. Seljuks invaded and occupied Anatolia by the late 11th century Manzikert, 1071. They took four days and nights to complete.
Genghis Khan: His Conquests, His Empire, His Legacy by Frank McLynn is a detailed history of Asia's most famous ruler. In Jerusalem the young king shows symptoms of leprosy. I think it was standard for women from her time and place. The image of Mongolian warriors as fierce horsemen sweeping across the steppe is accurate, but incomplete. It really is remarkable just how modern they are in aspects considering the campaigns occurred almost 800 years ago.
Rules around running water were interesting in what was considered polluting it. Genghis Khan cover the life of Temujin from his birth to his rise to Khan of all Khans. There are maps at the beginning, but this book goes into so much useful detail that it would have been better to have more maps. United under Genghis, a strategist of astonishing cunning and versatility, they could dominate any sedentary society they chose. While it gives as much depth if not more as a scholarly tome, it is also deeply fulfilling in its analysis of individuals, empires, kingdoms.
. Other books include 1066, Stanley, 1759, and Marcus Aurelius. The empire was never sustainable. The 'pastoral lifestyle makes for strong warrior theme' which sounds like an ex post rationalization has been said before about the Mongols, namely by John Keegan I believe, who points out the ability to slaughter animals makes for hearty, non-squeamish men I'll point out parenthetically that I have learned to slit the throats of chickens with relish, constantly keeping my knife well-honed and--this is key--putting the bird at ease before dispatching it with quick, clean strokes. The author, Frank McLynn, describes the unlikely and self made rise and contrasts it with Alexander the Great inheriting his father's army and empire, Cesar expanding an already existing empire as opposed to creating it, Napoleon building upon on an existing French state and French revolution fervor--while Khan started as just one This biography of Genghis Khan describes both Khan's military campaigns and Mongol life at the time of his rise and during the time he ruled most of the known world. The eastern Romans did not have any additional technological or cultural advantage in fortifications or anything else over the western Romans.
Moving huge herds of animals generated logistical skills and the capacity to navigate through uncertain terrain, coordinating with far-flung comrades while doing so. This was like listening to a family tree recitation mixed with dates : so and so married so and so, had 6 kids named,. Somebody had to be the most successful of the many many central Asian invaders, and it turned out to be the Mongols. I requested this book because I am interested in Genghis Khan and I haven't read a biography on him in 50 years junior high which was mostly about the legend. Their genius was for killing. I am no expert on the mongol horde but even I noticed some glaring omissions from this book.
That practice translated into light cavalry tactics and warfare. Thoroughly researched, grim, grisly, and sometimes even grudgingly admiring. Genghis Khan is no mere dry history book; the subject matter is so fascinating that despite few attempts to spice things up, one cannot help but be engrossed in the tale of one of history's greatest protagonists. Genghis Khan is McLynn's successful proof of concept, built on newly-translated sources to expand our understanding of the man responsible for forging one of the world's greatest empires. The danger of nomadic peoples to the civilized peoples was a constant throughout much of human history - it wasn't until European technology accelerated after the 1500s that civilized societies clearly outraced the power of the steppes.
Khan lead the campaign into Persia while his generals went to China. However, I thought a lot of it was overkill, too. So it is a small wonder that I swallowed this book in just a few days. I don't think McLynn achieves that with this book. Be sure, the author explains just how ugly the actions of Mongol attacks were, but also gives some context of where they fit in to the scheme of things. It is amazing how much ground they covered and where they went and why, but how are we supposed to follow along with all this for hundreds of pages? They therefore had to depend on literate, multilingual members of the very nations they had conquered. Time has softened the results of his actions, but the author brings the man vividly to life.