Genghis Khan: The Man Who Conquered the World

Written by Frank McLynn
Review by E.M. Powell

A new history by Frank McLynn is always a treat to be savoured, and his latest release is no exception. It’s a substantial read but as the author states in the introduction, he is attempting a ‘synthesis of all the scholarship done in the major European languages in the past forty years related to Genghis and his sons.’ McLynn doesn’t disappoint. We have the full story of Genghis, born in 1162 as Temujin, who becomes the greatest conqueror the world has ever known, with his empire eventually covering twelve million miles. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Genghis also acquired 23 official wives, 16 regular concubines, a huge harem and a 17-piece all-girl orchestra. McLynn gives us a masterful insight into the harsh life of the Mongols, with fascinating details like the consumption of koumiss, a type of alcoholic fermented mares’ milk. There is even a special appendix devoted to the Mongol religion. Add in detailed and beautifully produced maps, with a helpful glossary of principal personalities and you too will be lost in this epic, superbly written history.