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Monday, October 06, 2014

Book Review : ‘The Mongol Empire : Genghis Khan, His Heirs and the Founding of Modern China' by John Man

The first time, I had read a little about Genghis Khan was thanks to Alex Rutherford’s ‘Raiders from the North’: (Empire ofthe Moghul series). This was minus the history books I had read as a child at school. 

‘Raiders from the North’ mentioned Genghis Khan (though of course, it did not have too much to do with India) but his name had struck with me. And so, I had jumped at 'The Mongol Empire: Genghis Khan, His Heirs and the Founding of Modern China' by John Man. Though this book is non-fiction, but the fascination was always there. 

John Man’s book is divided into three parts. Starting with Genghis Khan’s rule in the first part, the book covers his daughter-in-law, Sorkaktani and her remarkable prowess at maintaining the empire, which had now spread; in the second part of this book. Sorkaktani had the foresight and sense to keep it all together. Her second son, Kublai Khan (in the third part) is credited with giving modern China, its new identity.

The story of Genghis’ 'golden family' up till the late 13th century ruled almost 1/5th of the populated world. Kublai Khan was credited with this factor. He captured all of China and managed to give it, its borders. Genghis always had a vision of the world’s rule and thought that he was the one with a divine blessing. 

John Man (From Random House)
John Man also travelled to the Mongolian heartland and attempted to see where it was that Genghis and his followers were buried. Though it probably still remains a secret, it is Genghis and Kublai Khan that seem to the makers of China, according to this book. 

I do understand that there are other books, which deal with the same subject, but it is Man’s vision of Genghis Khan’s rule, that make this 'book with the fictitious touch'. I thought that it would have made a ‘cooler’ read if it was fiction.

I did not exactly get if it was a travel piece or if it was historical essay. He tends to slip between the two. But, give it a read and make your own conclusions because it deserves a read, for sure.

Author: John Man
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 978-0-593-07125-0
Price: Rs 699/-

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