CONQUEROR OF THE WORLD by Rene Grousset

CONQUEROR OF THE WORLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Grossman is publishing in English Grousset's biography of Genghis Khan, which first appeared in 1944. It reads like a chronicle: it is peppered with exotic names of people and places, follows one military conquest after another, profers small anecdotes about the Mongol conqueror and brief remarks about his character. The very short chapters usually deal with one event only. This style is certainly the intentional result of following the contemporary and later records. If most of the small details are forgotten, one is left with a clear picture of the harsh and brutal way of life and battle pursued by these northern nomads. Temujin, or Genghis Khan, who began his fighting career abandoned by the tribe with his mother and brothers, went through a long, desperate struggle to subdue and unify the anarchic tribes. Merciless to all traitors and most victims, he was also capable of compassion and good sense; he was not impervious to advice, strange as it was to him, when coming from Chinese scholars. The book does show a giant of a man, who, through fantastic will and sheer might, laid out the beginnings of a vast empire, annihilating any small (and large) cultures that opposed him. Although the style (while intriguing on personal anecdotes) subjugates the chronicle at times, the total image is fascinating; one is graphically reminded of how alien another age and ethos can be.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1966
Publisher: Grossman