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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World summary

Jack Weatherford

The fascinating story behind the Mongol Empire

4.3 (327 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

"Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World" by Jack Weatherford is a historical account of the life and legacy of Genghis Khan, who founded the Mongol Empire and paved the way for modern globalization.

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    Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
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    Genghis Khan’s larger-than-life reputation began with humble origins in difficult terrain.

    You might’ve thought the future empire-builder Genghis Khan led a privileged life from childhood. That he came from a powerful and wealthy family and remained powerful and wealthy.

    He didn’t.

    Genghis Khan faced many hardships as a child. Born in the Eurasian Steppe between modern-day Mongolia and Siberia, he was given the name Temujin and grew up in a nomadic culture. The nomadic peoples of the area coalesced into tribes and clans based on kinship ties. The head of each clan was known as a khan or chief.

    But it was a dangerous world. The law of the land was violence. Murder, kidnapping and enslavement between clans were commonplace.

    Temujin knew this well. His father, Yesugei, had kidnapped Temujin’s mother, Hoelun, soon after she had married Chiledu, a young warrior from another tribe.

    Normally, men sent gifts to the parents of a putative bride before they could marry, often for several years. Genghis Khan’s father was too poor to afford such luxuries, so he simply carried off Hoelun for himself.

    Hoelun gave birth to Temujin in 1162, far from her family and home. Soon after, Yesugei was killed, and the tribe cast the boy, his mother and his siblings out to die on the steppes. It was only through sheer determination that they managed to survive.

    Temujin was never formally educated. He made his own way in a tough environment – and it was brutal.

    For instance, when still a child, he killed his older half-brother to secure control of their family. Temujin was also later captured and enslaved by a rival tribe, the Tayichiud. Fortunately, he managed to escape by sequestering a horse and riding home.

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    What is Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World about?

    These blinks will make you re-examine what you thought you knew about the Mongols of the twelfth century. They’ll show you why it’s unfair to imagine them as uncivilized barbarians. Indeed, the Mongol army under Genghis Khan and his descendants brought trade, civilization and order – the Mongol Empire contributed to the making of the modern world.

    Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World Review

    Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (2004) offers a captivating exploration of the life and legacy of one of history's most influential figures, Genghis Khan. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Presenting fascinating historical insights and detailed research, it sheds light on the far-reaching impact of Genghis Khan's empire on the contemporary world.
    • The book reveals how the Mongol Empire fostered cultural exchange, innovation, and trade, challenging conventional narratives about its destructive nature.
    • By focusing on Genghis Khan's leadership qualities and military tactics, it offers a unique and nuanced perspective on the extraordinary man behind the myth.

    Who should read Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World?

    • Historians interested in the construction of historical narratives
    • Global citizens interested in the roots of the modern world
    • Students of political science

    About the Author

    Jack Weatherford is a former professor of anthropology at Macalester College in Minnesota. He is also the author of Indian Givers, Native Roots, Savages and Civilization and The History of Money. He has now retired to Mongolia.

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    Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World FAQs 

    What is the main message of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World?

    The main message of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World is that Genghis Khan's influence on the world is far-reaching and his methods have shaped the modern era.

    How long does it take to read Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World?

    The reading time for Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in around 15 minutes.

    Is Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World is a captivating read that sheds light on a fascinating historical figure. It's definitely worth exploring.

    Who is the author of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World?

    The author of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World is Jack Weatherford.

    What to read after Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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