Throughout history the world's greatest conquerors have made their mark not just on the battlefield, but in the societies they have transformed. Read more...
Throughout history the world's greatest conquerors have made their mark not just on the battlefield, but in the societies they have transformed. Genghis Khan conquered by arms and bravery, but he ruled by commerce and religion. He created the world's greatest trading network and drastically lowered taxes for merchants, but he knew that if his empire was going to last, he would need something stronger and more binding than trade. He needed religion. And so, unlike the Christian, Taoist and Muslim conquerors who came before him, he gave his subjects freedom of religion. Genghis lived in the 13th century, but he struggled with many of the same problems we face today: How should one balance religious freedom with the need to reign in fanatics? Can one compel rival religions - driven by deep seated hatred--to live together in peace? A celebrated anthropologist whose bestselling Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World radically transformed our understanding of the Mongols and their legacy, Jack Weatherford has spent eighteen years exploring areas of Mongolia closed until the fall of the Soviet Union and researching The Secret History of the Mongols, an astonishing document written in code that was only recently discovered. He pored through archives and found groundbreaking evidence of Genghis's influence on the founding fathers and his essential impact on Thomas Jefferson. Genghis Khan and the Quest for God is a masterpiece of erudition and insight, his most personal and resonant work.
- ISBN-13: 9780735221154
- ISBN-10: 0735221154
- Publisher: Viking
- Publish Date: October 2016
- Page Count: 432
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 1.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-08-08
- Reviewer: Staff
Weatherford (Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World), former professor of anthropology at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., focuses on the religious life of Genghis Khan (1162–1227), repeating some biographical material from his earlier book. Weatherford is an engaging storyteller who has done broad research and is passionate about Khan and his impact, but this passion is the source of the book’s major weaknesses. First, Weatherford frequently presents unsupported speculation about Khan’s personal psychology as knowable facts, perhaps to make history accessible for a popular readership. Second, in rehabilitating Khan’s reputation as a bloodthirsty conqueror, Weatherford often misbalances and overstates his own theses, portraying Khan instead as a model of ideal justice and wisdom and the potential origin of modern religious freedom. Third, Weatherford meanders, touching on, for instance, Khan’s own spiritual life; the laws and taxes for adherents of various religions in his empire; and a review of connections between Mongolia and Tibet. This is an interesting overview of some of the religious dynamics of the Mongolian empire in the 13th century but will leave readers looking for in-depth analysis wanting. Agent: Robin Straus, Robin Straus Agency (Oct.)