The secrets of their military success were; speed of attack, superior intelligence of the opposition and an ability to improvise. Nor were they linguists, and in their raw state they knew nothing of a money economy. The Mongols remained brutal and contemptuous of their subjects for a good long time-- except in China where by the third generation under Kublai Khan they bean to adopt Chinese ways. However, the book was poorly organized and very difficult to follow. The road was not easy it is a story of alliances, friendships, and conquests in small steps. A cruel despot who sated his blood lust with an orgy of death.
A surprising amount of the biography and Khan's life dealt with Khan's battles with other tribes before he became Khan; in many ways they were more difficult and challenging than his later world conquests, it also showed Khan's shrewdness, his divide and conquer tactics which included whenever possible fighting one rival tribe at a time. A man who betrayed a brother to protect a nation. But then it's just campaign after campaign. The Mongol Empire was always about conquest, so yes, their military achievements were stupendous. The danger of nomadic peoples to the civilized peoples was a constant throughout much of human history - it wasn't until European technology accelerated after the 1500s that civilized societies clearly outraced the power of the steppes.
From an acclaimed historian comes this definitive biography of the great conqueror Genghis Khan. But when Benedict Wong is on screen he owns the show. Aside from my issues with the amount of detail included, my other gripe was with the writing. For one, Mclynn gives the account of the raids and conquests and routes the mongols took to get there. Maybe you hear vague rumours about attacks against places you've barely ever heard of recall, information and geographical knowledge was very poor then. Reading about them in the safety of my 21st century armchair, I thank God I never had to worry about facing that horde. From his early days of Temujin to the ruler of the biggest empire in the world.
When the sultan of Damascus died after a game of polo, Saladin, using Egyptian money, made himself master of Syria, too. And for all the detail in the book, the battles seemed to be lacking. Care of massive and variegated herds and flocks produced a number of consequences: adaptability and ingenuity of response and initiative; mobility and the capacity for rapid mobilisation; low levels of wealth and of economic inequality; almost total absence of a division of labour; political instability. This was a good, detailed book that is also a pretty fair accounting of his life. Combining fast-paced accounts of battles with rich cultural background and the latest scholarship, Frank McLynn brings vividly to life the strange world of the Mongols, describes Temujin's rise from boyhood outcast to becoming Genghis Khan, and provides the most accurate and absorbing account yet of one of the most powerful men ever to have lived. This is an informative and admirable effort that is ideal for general readers. Guns, Germs and steel or iron, which is not quite the same thing but close enough are the hard lessons of history.
After his ascendancy to Genghis Khan, Genghis built his empire on reward, knowing if he kept his army and his subjects in booty they were less likely to rebel or scheme against him. Most battles were won before they even started, facing next to no organized opposition. An interesting subject made a bit dry by plodding writing. The only drawback of this book is a lack of enough maps. In Baghdad, viziers are murdered.
I have never read a McLynn book before. The crusaders thought something similar of Saladin. You will learn a lot reading it, but it's not the most enjoyable book to read in order to gain that information. I am somewhat unconvinced by this balance. While Mongol woman may have treated with equality not seen in contemporary and even later societies, it has to be considered in light of the treatment of non Mongol woman who served as rape victims and enslaved concubines and ways of exacting revenge and deterring future opposition. McLynn provides the most accurate and absorbing account yet of one of the most powerful men ever to have ever lived. He uses references, as if, it is common knowledge, and doesn't really explain.
The world in which he grew up was one of tribes riven by vendetta. There they encountered merchants of Venice who asked for their help against rivals from Genoa. There is a ton of information here, and I can't imagine how difficult the task must have been to collect it all. I was led to believe that one of their biggest military advantages was surprise. He often spends so much time on background information or context that he loses the flow of the narrative. It makes intelligible a period of history which is so often a blur to the unfamiliar Western reader,and rather than just throwing a bunch of dates and facts at you it tries to make them intelligible in terms of underlying mechanisms.
Actually the show is about Kublai Khan - Marco Polo seems to be there kind of as a white-person-observation-point character. He is noted for critically acclaimed biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte, Robert Louis Stevenson, Carl Jung, Richard Francis Burton and Henry Morton Stanley. I have some basic french so I understood most of it, but even I thought his overreliance on french phrases a tad ridiculous. For the record, if Genghis Khan were born in 1950 - not so long ago to be a baby, when you think about it - he would have been a very very young man in the 70s, in his early middle age during the second Bush presidency, and would be dead today. He has written over 20 books, including critically acclaimed biographies of Napoleon and Richard the Lionheart. That italicize the that, please being said, your description of what atrocious style consists of seems very true.
Overall I strongly recommend this book to any historian professional or amateur or a person who likes Lord of the Rings and other grand fantasy - which shows you that reality can be stranger than fiction! Antony Beevor immediately comes to mind when I think of someone who writes excellent histories but keeps them accessible to all readers. The subtitle is The Man Who Conquered the World, and this is one of the very best non-fiction books of the year, quite possibly the best. This is not an entry level book for those who are interested in the life of Genghis Khan. His life and his conquests are still felt today. Why not take by force whatever they wanted? The author describes the background of the Mongol Empire incredibly well and his appendix on the Khwarezim and Qara-Khitai empires are worthy of books by themselves. Alliances, betrayals, childhood friends turned Genghis Khan: The Man Who Conquered the World By Frank McLynn Genghis Khan by Frank McLynn is a wonderful biography of one of the most interesting military commanders and statesmen in history. It also ends kinda , with a conclusion chapter in which Mclynn discusses the various attitudes and takes there are on the Genghis and the mongols; from his impact on the rest of world history to how he should be viewed as a person.