Customer Reviews for

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

AP World History Review: a book that is both enlightening and entertaining all at once

To be honest, the thought of reading a book all about history would have disgusted me only a few days ago. And the truth is, it still does. However, this book is not just another boring list of facts; it's an engaging and informative piece that tells me what I need to...
To be honest, the thought of reading a book all about history would have disgusted me only a few days ago. And the truth is, it still does. However, this book is not just another boring list of facts; it's an engaging and informative piece that tells me what I need to know in a way that I want to learn it. I'm not going to say that this book is the greatest I have ever read, because it's not, but in the realm of books about history, I would definitely recommend this. There isn't a great deal of big words or unneccessary information in this book. However, the greatest thing about this book, for me, was the topic. The Mongols were such an important part of history, and the impact of their rule still exists in our world today. Just that was enough to draw me in.
I hadn't heard of Jack Weatherford before reading this book, and when I read about his credentials, I thought he would definitely be the type of author who drones on and on about a topic. But as I've already stressed to point out, this was not the case at all. At the beginning of each chapter, Mr. Weatherford quotes a short, blunt, yet thought-provoking phrase. This phrase then stays in the reader's mind throughout the extent of the chapter; this technique is one that causes you to subconsciously make connections that then amplify themselves later on in the book. The careful construction and layout of this book makes it a very effective learning experience. Overall, I would have to say that this book shines a whole new light on the life and rule of Genghis Khan, his well-thought out war plans and tactics, and the carefully crafted civilization he left behind. If you are even remotely interested by the Mongols, I would say definitely give this book a chance.

posted by 2392918 on December 9, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Misleading Title

I was excited to read a book about Ghengis Khan that was not written in the classic "textbook" fashion. This book, however, should be called "The Mongol Empire and the Making of the Modern World." Ghengis Khan is pretty much done by page 100 and there is a great deal ...
I was excited to read a book about Ghengis Khan that was not written in the classic "textbook" fashion. This book, however, should be called "The Mongol Empire and the Making of the Modern World." Ghengis Khan is pretty much done by page 100 and there is a great deal of time spent on what happens to the Mongol Empire thereafter. In a way, I wsh this book were either longer or shorter. For the period of time it covers, the paucity of pages means that the author glosses over what no doubt would be fascinating topics. This may be a function of the record-keeping at the time, though, and maybe there isn't a lot he can delve into. While there were some facinatig bits and the examination of the Mongol fihgting style was interesting, I just constantly felt as if the book could have been better.

One example is the creation of a Navy and attempted invasion of Japan by Kubilai Khan (who receives possibly more pages than Ghengis). There had to be more to tell here, but ther author spends a few scant pages on two attempts to onvade Japan. Likewise, the bubonic plague and period of time where the Mongol leaders were killing each other off in a great power struggle received very scant treatment, though they semed fertile and interesting ground.

In short, this is not consistent with the recent trend of well-written, enlightening history books. It is written in a very textbook style and unfortunately gosses over much of the interesting history. The author makes numerous statements that he either is making up, or simply failed to provide backup for. I was very disappointed in this book and would notrecommend it.

posted by Jimgraz on May 24, 2010

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