Book Review: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Jack Weatherford, 2004

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World book cover

A very insightful book that illustrates how much Genghis Khan was responsible for laying the foundations of the modern world.

From the separation of church and state, religious tolerance, the postal system, a unified calendar, and cannons, to the creation of the basis of modern China and Russia, Genghis Khan had a major impact on civilization.

While his conquests and massacres are often talked about, people fail to recognise his contributions to the societies he conquered - once the conquest itself was over. In addition he was a tactical genius, far surpassing the achievements of other great generals such as Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon and the like - and the fact that he was not a member of the aristocracy and indeed rose from poverty and the life of a bandit to conquer most of the known world makes this even more impressive. He had no starting advantage in the form of instruction in battlecraft, tactics, or ruling empires, which most other generals received from childhood.

Genghis Khan unified, in 25 years, more of the world than the Romans managed in 400 years. His superb organisational skills and keen understanding of people and governments led him to create an unstoppable juggernaut.

This is a tremendously interesting book with loads of insight about a part of history that is very often glossed over. Highly recommended.