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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Length: 14 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,251 ratings)

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Summary

The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.

Vastly more progressive than his European or Asian counterparts, Genghis Khan abolished torture, granted universal religious freedom, and smashed feudal systems of aristocratic privilege. From the story of his rise through the tribal culture to the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed, this brilliant work of revisionist history is nothing less than the epic story of how the modern world was made.

©2005 Jack Weatherford (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"With appreciative descriptions of the sometimes tender tyrant, this chronicle supplies just enough personal and world history to satisfy any reader." ( Publishers Weekly)
"There is very little time for reading in my new job. But of the few books I've read, my favourite is Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford. It's a fascinating book portraying Genghis Khan in a totally new light. It shows that he was a great secular leader, among other things." (Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India)
"Weatherford's admiration for Genghis and his firsthand knowledge of many of the sites important in Mongol history give this text an immediacy and a visual quality that are enhanced by Davis’s presentation. When the narrative begins to lag in its final hour or two as it moves farther from the twelfth century, Davis's crisp pace maintains the listener’s interest to the end. An informative and provocative work of popular history." ( AudioFile)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing! Wonderful! Couldn't get enough!

I stumbled onto this one by chance, and quickly grew to love it -- who'd ever know that much about the Mongols and how they changed the world? Years of research have gone into this book, and it shows. The 'Secret History', an original Mongol document about Gengis Khan's life, only became available for researchers quite recently, so there is now a wealth of brand new information. Many surprises, many really astonishing facts are waiting for the listener! The prose is at the right pace, not patronizing, not too scientific. One can also feel how much the author simply loves Mongolia... Good reader too. I simply couldn't get enough and was thirsting for more when it was over. I am now going to read his other books...

42 of 47 people found this review helpful

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Liked it so much I didn't want it to end

Would you listen to Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World again? Why?

I actually already did start to listen to it again. This book is so packed full of interesting stories and information, I found it hard to retain them all from one listen.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World?

I never thought a history book would keep me so entertained and interested. This one certainely did, the story of Gengis Kahn and his sucessors is told so well it almost reads like a novel. I loved the way this book changed my understanding of world history, illustrating the impact of the mongol empire on the world.

What about Jack Weatherford and Jonathan Davis ’s performance did you like?

Despite being packed with historical information, place names, dates and significant people, this book does not read like a history book at all. The story flows incredibly well and keeps you coming back for more. The reader has a voice that is very nice to listen to, becomes noticable when the reader changes for the afteroword.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I wouldn't say "moved" but I did get excited about this book and recommended it to friends and family.

Any additional comments?

The ultimate measure of a non-fiction book must be if it changes the way you think and see the world. This one absolutely changed my understanding of history.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

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A joy to listen to!

I chose this book as I'd heard that Genghis Khan's terrible reputation was ill-deserved. And I came away with a feeling of awe and incredulity that a young man from a low caste from the wooded steps of Mongolia rose to become one of the greatest leaders of men in history.
The book begins by fleshing out his origins, before moving onto his early military victories, and then exploring his family and heritage. His military acumen seems almost preternatural, in that he was able to achieve victory against heavy odds, and out-think each of his opponents. Once he brought all of the warring Mongolian factions together, he then struck out to conquer the known world.
And unlike many other military masterminds and leaders of massive empires, Genghis chose to rule in an unheard of manner. He believed in a system of meritocracy, where it was ability, and not blood ties, that dictated progression through the social ranks. He had learned early on that being related to someone does not necessarily mean that they will show you loyalty when it comes to the crunch.
When Genghis died, his heirs continued his mission to conquer neighboring civilizations, bringing with their hoards new social norms and bringing into effect more noble laws. The book explores his large and varied descendants, and the legacy that he left to the world.
This is a book that teaches so much about a much-misunderstood man, while painting a vivid picture of the world in which he lived. The narrator is a joy to listen to, as he breathes life into the words with his lively delivery. And the afterword and post-script, narrated by the book's author is a splendid way to end the audiobook.
I can't recommend this book highly enough.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A book that fully illustrates the power of history

This is fascinating interpretation of the history of the Mongol empire and it's Khans, particularly Genghis Khan and their influence, direct or otherwise, to the modern world, and long overdue recognition of its contribution to the modern western world.
This, to me, illustrates the importance of history, and how from it we learn to understand more of what we have now, and could have in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this, and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in seeing the world from a different perspective.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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simply amazing

I thought I knew something about the Mongol Empire. I was wrong. This book has shown me the richness of the legacy of an empire that changed the course of all of world history in infinite ways but of which my education has taught me next to nothing. I am incredibly thankful for having come across this book.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

An enjoyable hagiography(?)

This is an immensely enjoyable listen but a questionable history book, tending more towards hagiography than accurate biography.

I have had the good fortune to spend a couple of months traveling around Mongolia, where 'The Secret History of the Mongols' is treated almost as scripture, and Temujin/Genghis/Chinggis is the national hero.

That, however, doesn't make it true, but Weatherford, nevertheless, bases his book around it. This leads to a revisionist history that somewhat glosses over the inconvenient details of cultural eradications, massacres of entire cities and up to 40 million deaths. Not for nothing was the Great Khan known in the West as "accursed of god".

That said, I still feel that this is a great addition to the literature and one which, like Frankopan's 'The Silk Roads', opens our eyes to the narrow perspective of our Eurocentric historical tradition. Genghis brought free trade, freedom of religion, freedom from torture etc., but only as long as you didn't resist him. If you did ...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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An excellent history.

Starting and focusing on the life of Genghis Khan this book manages to give a insightful look at the rise and eventual fall of the mongol empire founded by Genghis Khan.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Mukesh
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 05-06-15

Great book

I really did not know much about Genghis Khan and this book was brilliant in teaching me something. The narrator was so impressive. It is one of the best books that I have listened to.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicholas
  • Skipton, United Kingdom
  • 18-12-18

Glorious hagiography

The story of Genghis Khan is told as a panegyric. Not only was GK the bravest, most intelligent and brilliant general of all time, he also showed a level of moderation, compassion and justice to rival Jesus or Mohammed. So positive an assessment was unexpected and gave a certain elan to GK's story. However, the more general analysis of Kubla Khan's reign was so gushing, I had to give up before the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A great book

I’ve listened to this at least 5 times. I love it. While it may minimise some of the atrocities of the Khans, it is a fascinating account of their history.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful