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Download Gengis Khan: Makers of History epub

by Jacob Abbott

This anthology is a thorough introduction to classic literature for those who have not yet experienced these literary masterworks. For those who have known and loved these works in the past, this is an invitation to reunite with old friends in a fresh new format. From Shakespeare s finesse to Oscar Wilde s wit, this unique collection brings together works as diverse and influential as The Pilgrim s Progress and Othello. As an anthology that invites readers to immerse themselves in the masterpieces of the literary giants, it is must-have addition to any library.
Download Gengis Khan: Makers of History epub
ISBN: 1463795521
ISBN13: 978-1463795528
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Classics
Author: Jacob Abbott
Language: English
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 25, 2011)
Pages: 188 pages
ePUB size: 1943 kb
FB2 size: 1266 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 418
Other Formats: azw docx mobi txt

One thing I have noticed in my reading of histories of the latter half of the 19th century is that many of them greatly enjoyed writing ethnographic histories and not merely narrative histories. This book is to be praised in that even though it judges the beauty of Mongolian women by Western standards (and not particularly generously at that) and though it contains a great deal of what would be considered racist writing today about the peoples of Central Asia, the book itself has some profound social history that comments poignantly on the cruel fate of commonfolk throughout much of history, and this focus makes it clear that the author (who wrote this book during the Guilded Age) is a good guy as far as his concern for ordinary people is in an age that was not very compassionate towards such folks.

Genghis Khan, in this light, makes an interesting subject for a biography. The author is candid about his savagery and cruelty, points out the context from which it came, and also points out that he had some enemies who managed to slander him even worse than he deserved. By taking the available texts and dealing fairly with them, with a great deal of chivalry and graciousness at times, the author manages to construct a decent and coherent narrative that is mostly chronological and that focuses mostly on the key elements of Temujin’s life–his family background, childhood, rise to power, and the defining elements of his wars against the Kara-Quitay, Naiman, Quitay, and Jurchen, as well as his conquests in Central and Western Asia. He managers to praise honor where he can all around and also ends very abruptly with a discussion of the inevitable collapse of Mongol power in the generations after Genghis Khan’s life in a way that is not exactly very profound.

So, does Genghis Khan deserve to be a maker of history? He took a people that had been divided and on the margins of history and made them, for a few generations, the master of the lands between Japan and Germany, between Egypt, India, Vietnam, and the Arctic circle. His dynasty populated a great deal of Central Asia after depopulating it, and managed to destroy states like the Kievan Rus and the Abbasid Caliphate while creating the last great nomadic empire in existence, which prompted the surviving powers of Russia and China to expand until the various leftovers of the nomadic hordes were completely taken over by civilized states altogether. This book does not examine that greater sweep of history, but as a biographical history with a strong social conscience it is a worthy book to read for anyone who wants to see a fair-minded view of a great conqueror in an age of massive Western imperialism that was not always much more gentle and civilized in its forms. The book again does not make explicit its commentary on that phenomenon, but sometimes mere existence is context enough to reflect on the brutality of the past to avoid being brutal in the present.
This is part of an exceptional series of biographies from the wonderful school of historians of the mid-nineteenth century, in this case by the brothers John and Jacob Abbott. I hope that I will be forgiven for posting this review at various titles I have read.

I would like to quote Abraham Lincoln's letter to the brothers, for it is incredibly powerful.

"I want to thank you and your brother for Abbott's series of Histories. I have not education enough to appreciate the profound works of voluminous historians, and if I had, I have no time to read them. But your series of Histories gives me, in brief compass, just that knowledge of past men and events which I need. I have read them with the greatest interest. To them I am indebted for about all the historical knowledge I have."

Some may be put-off by the oftentimes long background stories, which can get somewhat tangential to the subject. Jacob especially seems prone to this. However, I find the Abbott's bios fascinating even when they get carried away and wander a bit too far from home. As a true history lover, it is hard to loose me.

As for judgments and opinions, yes, the Brother's Abbott give them freely and without reservation. While some will no doubt consider their views dated, please keep in mind that these books were written practically two centuries ago, when people thought very differently. In most cases, however, I find their ideas to be timeless, and in this sense, quite refreshing. If only today's historians could write so passionately and sensitively.
Jacob Abbot wrote what we would now consider "pop histories", geared towards young students. They are not deep, heavily footnoted tomes. Rather they are meant to provide introductory lessons to young minds in an entertaining but meaningful manner.

This is one of his best. He does not simply provide dry facts (of which there are few available), but he tries to fill in the story with details on tents, animals, etc. He also gives interesting discussions of some of the peoples conquered by Genhis Khan (about whom more is known).

I had expected less in this book due to the sparsity of details known about Genghis Khan, I was pleasantly surprised. It provides a good overview of the times and places, told in an entertaining manner.
This book takes the reader on a tour of Genghis Khan's conquests through Asia, with many varied description's of his campaigns. The author showed a haunting admiration for Genghis Khan without loosing sight of his cruel and barbaric side.
Though the content of this book was of great interest to me, I found the old fashioned prose clumsy and tedious at times. I will be interested to do some follow up reading on the topic to see what else I might learn.
This book was quite interesting. Khan was certainly a brutal leader. Although, he did offer to not kill everyone in the city he was about to sack, if the city surrendered. His army grew at every city, since he conscripted all the young men. Such a conqueror cannot last forever, since the future is soley based on his presence. The incestuous nature of wanting control caused many problems. In many ways, current governments behave the same way, perhaps not quite so brutal as Genghis Khan.
The format was annoying at times. you'd read a passage, a name would be dropped, and the passage would abruptly end followed by a couple names or key topics which the author would discuss in the next section. The reading was not seamless because of this. Otherwise, the writing was good and information relatively unbiased. Genghis was portrayed more like he probably was rather than as a hero. His life was epic and the book captured that well.