This history really starts with Kublai's grandfather Temujin, named Genghis Khan when he united the Mongol empire. Under Genghis Khan the Mongols agreed on the concept of world domination and centered their lives around a militaristic training. Kublai Khan was the opposite of his barbaric predecessors and preferred scholarship to soldiering. He did conquer China for the Mongols, but was ""corrupted"" by the Chinese ways; although the Empire was at its greatest under his rule, Kublai Khan's adoption of the culture and luxuries of China and his poorly contrived military campaigns led to the dissolution of Mongol power after his death. This is a cohesive description of the rise and fall of the Mongols, supported with revelations of their leaders' personalities and of their distinctive government, and there are excellent descriptions of their culture ranging from barbaric to aesthetic. On a few occasions the author has romanticized events; otherwise the narrative is very well handled, concise, reliable, and very readable.