A landmark biography of one of history’s most effective conquerors by The New York Times bestselling author of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World that reveals how he harnessed the power of religion to rule the largest empire the world has ever known
Throughout history the world’s greatest conquerors have made their mark not just on the battlefield, but also in the societies they have transformed. Genghis Khan conquered by arms and bravery, but he ruled by commerce and religion. He transformed the silk road into the world’s most effective trading network, established new laws, and drastically lowered taxes for merchants. But he knew that if his empire was going to last, he would need something stronger and more binding than trade. He needed religion. And so, unlike the Christian, Taoist, and Muslim conquerors who had come before him, he gave his subjects freedom of religion using an argument that would directly influence Thomas Jefferson. But before that, he looted their shrines and killed their priests. Genghis lived in the thirteenth century, but he struggled with many of the same problems we face today: How should one balance religious freedom with the need to rein in fanatics? Can one compel rival religions—driven by deep-seated hatred—to live together in peace?
A celebrated anthropologist whose bestselling Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World radically transformed our understanding of the Mongols and their legacy, Jack Weatherford has spent eighteen years exploring areas of Mongolia closed until the fall of the Soviet Union and researching The Secret History of the Mongols, an astonishing document written in code that was only recently discovered. He pored through archives and found groundbreaking evidence of Genghis’s influence on the founding fathers. Now, with this masterpiece of historical erudition and religious insight, he has written his most personal and resonant work.
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