Genghis Khan is one of history's immortals: a leader of genius, driven by an inspiring vision for peaceful world rule. Believing he was divinely protected, Genghis united warring clans to create a nation and then an empire that ran across much of Asia.
Under his grandson, Kublai Khan, the vision evolved into a more complex religious ideology, justifying further expansion. Kublai doubled the empire's size until, in the late 13th century, he and the rest of Genghis’s ‘Golden Family’ controlled one fifth of the inhabited world. Along the way, he conquered all China, gave the nation the borders it has today, and then, finally, discovered the limits to growth.
Genghis's dream of world rule turned out to be a fantasy. And yet, in terms of the sheer scale of the conquests, never has a vision and the character of one man had such an effect on the world.
Charting the evolution of this vision, John Man provides a unique account of the Mongol Empire, from young Genghis to old Kublai, from a rejected teenager to the world’s most powerful emperor.
Wonderful... what sets it apart is the way the tale is told. Quirky digressions and fascinating anecdotes pepper a narrative of wonderful dramatic energy.
Excellent and profoundly committed ... Man provides a vivid, lucid and economical picture. A worthy addition to the burgeoning popular literature on the centaurs of the steppes.
[Man] does a splendid job of conveying the sheer opulence and grandeur... [and tells] a rollicking good story, his historical narrative interspersed with high-spirited travel-writerly digressions. Lively and engaging.
A very lively and enjoyable book.
One could not wish for a better storyteller or analyst than John Man.