The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire by Jack Weatherford

Stars: 5 of 5

I wish I had read this kind of information as a part of world history. It’s books like this one that have illuminated all the things that we can miss when focusing on Western Civilization as a core history course above world history. I get the necessity to understand the history of our direct forefathers, but it is no less important to understand the world they interacted with or the history developing beside them that would eventually impact us. 

The scope of this history of the Mongol Queens goes beyond Genghis Khan’s daughters and to all of his female descendants until the end of his empire. Many of these were courageous and smart women hampered by the world they were born into. The Khan described here comes off as an early feminist, appreciating what women bring to the table in leadership and understanding that harmony isn’t solely dependent on this or that role. He put his daughters into direct leadership which was great for as long as he lived but there was a backlash, as there always seems to be. From there their story takes off into a brutal ebb and flow of power between women and men, this or that part of family. 

I was blown away by most of these women and either what they were capable or what they could endure. This is really the kind of book that shows that ambition in women is nothing new, nor is capability to lead and accomplish great things. I was fascinated by the differences between each set of women and the differing circumstances that they dealt with between people who appreciated their skills and those who lashed out against them. 

I had taken a class a few years ago that focused on Alexander the Great and the way that he conquered every land that he came upon and this book made me long for a similar class about Genghis Khan. Weatherford had written a book that focused on Khan that I’ve added to my TBR and my library wish list at this point too. This is a great book to check out for anyone interested in history, particularly those interested in Asian History, women in history, Genghis Khan himself, or the Silk Road. Honestly, it has me looking for other books about the Silk Road too. I did find a memoir about it that I’m planning to read soon too called Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris. Add The Secret History of the Mongol Queens to your Goodreads shelf here.

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