by Thomas Craughwell
Fair Winds Press. 2010
The Mongols have long been an enigma. Of lowly origin they developed into a warrior culture complete with rituals and strategies that nearly led them to world domination, their vast reach surpassed only in history by the British Empire. The mystery behind their limitless ambition and barbarism paired with their military strength and rudimentary technological advancement that led to the control of more than 100 million people spanning half the globe, has long been the focus of intense curiosity.
Best-selling history writer Thomas J. Craughwell has sifted through the legend and hearsay, eyewitness accounts and medieval chronicles in order to factually retell the enthralling history of these ruthless empire builders of the east. The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History, reveals the complete story of the Mongol conquests, from the astonishing ascent of Genghis Khan to his near world domination to the empire’s precipitous fall.
The Mongol conquest brought stability to some nine million square miles of our planet, and a level of civilization that was previously unknown. Far larger that the much more famous domains of Alexander the Great and ancient Rome, to this day the Mongol Empire has been surpassed in overall size and reach only by the British Empire.
With deft prose, compelling narrative and 125 color photographs, Craughwell illuminates this lesser known empire. In sixteen lavishly illustrated chapters, he recounts:
· The spectacularly rapid expansion and the dramatic decline of the Mongol realm
· Its real, widespread, and enduring influence on countless communities from the Danube River to the Pacific Ocean
· Its sudden retreat from Europe following the death of Odgedei Khan in 1241
· The permanent division of its empire in 1294 under Kublai Khan
“Were the Mongols cruel? Often. Fierce? Always. Mindless? Never,” writes Alan Axelrod, author of Little-Known Wars of Great and Lasting Impact. “Here is the fascinating story of history’s most misunderstood empire-builders.”
The Rise and Fall of the Second Largest Empire in History carries us into the heart of some of the bloodiest and most momentous encounters in history as it expertly encapsulates a period of time long past but still vividly alive in our imaginations as modern day’s China power and global reach increases day by day.