- MP3 CD
- Verlag: Brilliance Corp; Auflage: MP3 Una (6. Mai 2014)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1491513705
- ISBN-13: 978-1491513705
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,3 x 1,3 x 17,1 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 196.205 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (Englisch) MP3 CD – 6. Mai 2014
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"There is very little time for reading in my new job. But of the few books I've read, my favourite is Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford (Crown Publishers, New York). It's a fascinating book portraying Genghis Khan in a totally new light. It shows that he was a great secular leader, among other things."
—Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India
“Reads like the Iliad. . . Part travelogue, part epic narrative.”
“It’s hard to think of anyone else who rose from such inauspicious beginnings to something so awesome, except maybe Jesus.”
“Weatherford’s lively analysis restores the Mongol’s reputation, and it takes wonderful learned detours. . . . Well written and full of suprises.”
“Weatherford is a fantastic storyteller. . . . [His] portrait of Khan is drawn with sufficiently self-complicating depth. . . . Weatherford’s account gives a generous view of the Mongol conqueror at his best and worst.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
From the Trade Paperback edition. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
A re-evaluation of Genghis Khan's rise to power examines the reforms the conqueror instituted throughout his empire and his uniting of East and West, which set the foundation for the nation-states and economic systems of the modern era. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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The best thing in the book, to my taste, is Weatherford's own knowledge from anthropological on-the-ground research. He knows the steppe and the feel of a Mongol horse under him. He can thus get a real perspective on how the Mongols actually experienced the world (like the great old-timers--Pozdnyev, Curtin--but unlike many modern Mongolists). Next best is his proper crediting of the Mongols for introducing new knowledge all over Eurasia--gunpowder and printing and much else to Europe, Greco-Persian-Arab medicine and foodways to China.
The worst is his inattention to detail. He makes some astonishing errors. Some reviewers have picked out a few. He retails the old chestnut (reportedly from a romantic novel) that the Mongols introduced noodles from China to Europe. No, Europe had them 800 years earlier. Worse is his repeating (p. 87) the old nonsense about the Mongols eating raw meat warmed between their thighs and the horses' backs. This factoid was spun by Ammianus Marcellinus, talking about steppe nomads centuries before the Mongols. It was almost certainly wrong then, and it is quite certainly wrong for the Mongols. The Mongols had the good sense to avoid raw meat, especially dirty raw meat.
So, read with caution. If this book whets your appetite, the next step is the books by Paul Ratchnevsky (on Genghis) and Morris Rossabi (on his successors and their world). And you might even tackle the Secret History, now made available (though expensive) by the indefatigable Igor de Rachewilz, who is properly acknowledged by Weatherford.
What resulted from these innovations was unprecedented: an army with the same benefits of speed and maneuver that had always been a part of the traditional tactics of the tribes of the steppe melded together with an effective bureaucratic leadership that was very different from the typical kin-based and ad hoc tribal relationships. This was Temujin's creation, and he perfected it in numerous battles to unify Mongolia under his leadership. In 1206, two years after the final battle to assume control of all Mongolia, he took the name Genghis Khan, and prepared to take his army out into the world.
Jack Weatherford's remarkable narrative of these events captures the creativity of Genghis Khan and the Mongols in a way that no book I've read before ever has. Whereas most histories of the Mongols have long emphasized their unprecedented success in war, Weatherford builds a solid case that shows the social and economic achievements of the Mongols may have been even more remarkable than their adaptations to warfare. The author makes the argument that the Mongols were fairly civilized by the standards of the thirteenth century, almost never engaging in torture, mutilation, or maiming. While they were quick to kill, and left an unprecedented path of destruction in their path, especially to those who resisted their rule, conquest and loot were their goals, not gratuitous death and injury.
After making himself the undisputed ruler of the steppes, an area about the size of Western Europe, Genghis Khan began moving south and west, conquering the Jurched (Manchurian) tribes ruling Northern China and the kingdom of Khwarizm, an empire under the rule of a Turkic sultan that stretched from what is modern Afghanistan to the Black Sea. Khwarizm was an important catch, as the Muslims there were noted for their steel- and glass-making, as well as numerous exotic commodities. As each conquest was assimilated, Genghis Khan took what was special and distinctive about the place and employed it productively. Craftsmen, miners, artisans, interpreters, and specialists in warfare were all absorbed into the Mongol Empire and tasked according to their specialty. The Mongols were nomads, but the genius of Genghis Khan was to recognize the value of even the smallest and most foreign of civilized talents and to use it to his empire's advantage.
Genghis Khan died in 1227 - a mere sixteen years after he began his world conquest. With the exception of India and China, he had conquered everything he set his mind to. It would now be up to his sons and their children to finish what in the shortness of time he could not. (Genghis Khan dies about halfway through Weatherford's book, leaving plenty of space to write about the continued expansion of the empire.) Interestingly, the empire seems to have expanded more by the momentum of its founder's achievements, even after his death, than by the skill of his heirs. Genghis Khan had always been careful not to give his children too much power, as he sought to break away from the traditional kin-based ties of the steppe in order to more smoothly run his empire. In mediating disputes involving his sons, he sometimes took the side of non-kin against them. Until late in his life, he neglected their training as leaders. The consequences of this became immediately apparent in the actions of his son and first heir to the empire, Ogodei.
But, even with sub par and occasionally strife-ridden leadership, the empire continued to expand. Some of the Mongol leaders to follow Genghis Khan were exceptional leaders, while others were not, but the combination of unbeatable virtues in the empire was fixed in a way that it hardly mattered in the first few decades after his death. Nothing outside of the empire could stop it, only enduring struggles from within. As Weatherford details, even as the empire began to split into four quadrants, trade and other imperial activities continued. Two Mongol rulers from separate quadrants could be at war with each other and still allow trade and investments between the sides to continue unmolested. Eventually this relationship would break down, and when it did, it would spell the end of the empire. The Mongols did not create anything. They conquered and looted. And the trade routes needed to move their loot from one part of the empire to another were necessary to keep the empire strong. When those trade routes began to close down, and the economy contracted, the Mongol rulers in each area needed to depend on their local political skills to survive. Some did, but others never made the transition.
Weatherford's book is a marvel - the best of more than half-a-dozen histories I have read on the subject. Writing about the Mongols has always been a complex task for two seemingly contradictory reasons. On the one hand, their widespread empire requires a scholar to dig through a variety of source material written by those conquered by the Mongols, which many find daunting; on the other hand, the Mongols themselves were illiterate and secretive, and so their own literature was almost nonexistent and, when found, difficult to understand. Given these odd circumstances, histories on the Mongols are usually hit-and-miss affairs. Scholars tend to be great at explaining some part of the Mongols, but fail to maintain that quality in other areas. Weatherford's extensive experience in Mongolia, researching Genghis Khan and his empire, makes up for what he loses by not going to the source material outside of English; his accomplishment is a narrative of the highest order.
Unfortunately, the author is so enthusiastic about promoting the achievements of the Mongols that he often ventures into hyperbole, and worse, miss-statements of fact, especially about the histories of the nations he is comparing to the Mongols. This undercuts his credibility.
The author's claims that the Mongol invasions introduced wearing trousers in battle to the West. In fact, trousers were popular among the Celts (including the Britons) for thousands of years, as they were among invading "barbarians" such as Goths and the Parthians. The Greeks and Romans wore kilts, but many of their neighbors wore trousers long before the Mongols.
The author says that in World War II, the Red Army was imitating the Mongol tactic of feigned retreat when they "lured" the German army deep into Russia to destroy it. In fact, Stalin repeatedly ordered his generals to stand fast and not give an inch. The reason the Red Army repeatedly fell back was because they were repeatedly beaten. This is not an esoteric point. How could a professor writing history on a global scale not know this?
The author says that the last Mogul Emperor's sons were executed in India so that Queen Victoria could take the Imperial title. This is just plain silly. The Emperor himself was sent into exile with other family members. His sons were executed for their purported roles in the Sepoy Rebellion as part of a bloody reprisal. There is no evidence that the motivation for this was to clear the way for Queen Victoria to assume the imperial title -- 20 years later.
There are so many more examples of this kind of factual error and false analogy that at times the book feels more like an overheated term paper by a sophomore stretching a point than the product of a learned professor. Such errors make me wonder how much I should trust the author's other pronouncements in areas that I'm not so familiar with.
The fact that the author is also prone to needlessly repeat himself doesnt help his case. He cites the fact that his source is the "Secret History of the Mongols" so often that I felt like I should be reading that book instead. Maybe I will
Weatherford here takes up the challenge of accenting the positive impact of his brutal conquests. Among other things he makes the case for his setting the West up for the Renaissance, the introduction of paper money, the postal system, Religious tolerance, and new vegetables. He bases much of this on new scholarship, rather than the hysterical propaganda of the aristocrats whom he threatened. Partly based on the mysterious "Secret History of the Mongols," the author's own travels in Mongolia, and contacts with Mongolian revivalists, he makes this bit of history accessible even to the most prejudiced reader.
Strangely omitted, though, is the fascinating tale that the geneticists have discovered about his Y chromosome, which appears to show that he might just have been the most prolific lover in the last couple of millennia! Too recent, maybe.
One of the remarkable features of his style was that he hated the elite and the aristocrats, and slaughtered as many as he could. He loved the professional men, the teachers and doctors, and especially the craftsmen and engineers, and did not even tax them. My kinda guy!
Weatherford's style of writing is lively and easy to read. The maps are just detailed enough to be informative without overburdening the reader in detail. This is not an exhaustive account of every battle, every city destroyed, which would be mind-numbing history as usually written, but rather a wide survey of events and their impact on the world to come. And I especially enjoyed his description of the military tactics employed by the cavalry, and his use of siege engines and gunpowder, which would be new to most readers.
Perhaps one of his greatest inventions, though, is that of diplomatic immunity. Any city, and there were several, who murdered or mutilated his envoys as a method of rejecting his terms of surrender, would be ruthlessly razed and the inhabitants slaughtered. Even in those days, the word got around...
This is quite a tale, well told.
I wanted to like this book, because I find Genghis Khan and his empire to be fascinating, and yet the author so completely overstates the significance of the Mongols that he loses all credibility, and pollutes an otherwise highly readable and interesting set of facts with so much fiction that it is often difficult to distinguish the two. For example, he claims in the introduction that the Mongols had founded the first unified nations of Korea and China, apparently ignorant of the fact that Korea had been unified since AD 668, and that China was first unified by the Qin dynasty in 221 BC. Similarly, he states on p. 237 that "[the Renaissance] was not the ancient world of Greece and Rome being reborn: It was the Mongol Empire, picked up, transferred, and adapted by the Europeans to their own needs and culture." Although the evidence for Greek and Roman influence on the Renaissance is overwhelming, the evidence for Mongol influence is flimsy at best. The more outsized the claim, the less evidence the author seems to provide.
Furthermore, he tries to give the Mongols credit for inspiring Renaissance art, which he calls a hybrid of Eastern and Western styles; he gives the Mongols credit for disseminating Arabic and Indian mathematics (the Arabs themselves had disseminated Indian mathematics throughout the civilized world, long before the Mongols); he gives the Mongols credit for introducing the compass to the West (the compass was mentioned in Alexander Neckham's De Naturis Rerum, written in 1190, before Genghis Khan had even ventured out of Mongolia); and he gives the Mongols credit for inventing the Silk Road, which had already existed for thousands of years.
What the book desperately needs are a fact-checker and responsible editor to curb the author's literary excesses. The author clearly sympathizes with the Mongols and wants to promote their case as responsible bearers of civilization. His biases are so blinding, that he frequently makes irrelevant comparisons to the worst excesses of the Catholic Inquisition to try to justify the mass slaughter of the Mongols, and even tries to deny the scale of Mongol genocides altogether, lamely asserting (p. 118), "It would be physically difficult to slaughter that many cows or pigs, which wait passively for their turn. Overall, those who were supposedly slaughtered outnumber the Mongols by ratios of up to fifty to one. The people could have merely run away, and the Mongols would not have been able to stop them." The gigantic flaw in logic is that the Mongols never faced odds of 50-to-1 at any one moment, but rather wiped out city after city in a process that took many years. His claim the the people could "have merely run away" is laughable, given his constant reminders that the Mongol cavalry were the fastest and most efficient army of the day. He could just as easily have applied the same ludicrous argument to any other historical genocide in order to deny their scale and seriousness.
I still like the subject of Genghis Khan, and Weatherford has whetted my appetite: I may eventually pick up one of the other, more serious and scholarly books on the topic. However, I will never again make the mistake of reading anything written by Mr. Weatherford.