I opened this expecting you to be talking about The Mongoliad for some reason, bro.
Thanks for the suggestion, sounds fascinating.
I have really enjoyed the Conqueror Series by Conn Iggulden. It documents the life of Ghengis Khan and is very well written. Check it out if you would like to know more about era in Human History. This series is epic, check it out for yourself, you will not be disappointed.
Books in the series
- Wolf Of The Plains
- Lords Of The Bow
- Bones Of The Hills
- Empire Of Silver
Ronin, I haven't read much historical fiction but I am very interested in Ghengis Khan and history in that part of the world at that time. Does the author use footnotes to help discern what is fictional and what isn't?
At the end of each books he summarizes the historical facts he based his storyline on. The series is called "Conqueror" of which the first three books are about Genghis Kahn himself, while the last two about his legacy/sons.
His has another 5 books series called "Emperor" which is about the life of Julius Caesar.
I'd recommend both.
“Men and women are made for each other, but their mutual dependence differs in degrees; man is dependent on woman through his desires; woman is dependent on man through her desires and also through her needs; he could do without her better than she can do without him. She cannot fulfill her purpose in life without his aid, without his goodwill, without his respect... Nature herself has decreed that woman, both for herself and her children, should be at the mercy of man's judgment.”
While this isn't a book, the movie "Mongol", all about Khan's life, is excellent.
I guess we're discussing this here now instead of the BOTM thread. Finished book 3 last night and:
This series kicks so much ass.
I just finished book 2 and am trying to get into the new book of the month before starting book 3. Exciting stuff.
Book 4 also kicks absolute ass, FYI.
Iggulden is doing a great job with the Mongol politics. After books 1-2 I was worried it would just get super repetitive.
Also like the end of the little fact reveal epilogue for book 4, when he mentions that.Spoiler:
Gives a good idea of the sheer scale of what those crazy goatherders accomplished and what more they might have if not for one little death.
Speaking of historical fiction, have any of you read Michael Curtis ford's stuff?
Finished the series (book 5 is great as well), and looked at his Julius Caesar series. It gets trashed by history professors saying that it's just way too far from established facts. That's disappointing. Maybe he can get away with that with Genghis and the Mongols, but we in the West just know too much about Rome to be fucked with too much over reality. I can live with the minor complaints (he makes Caesar's mother a slut), but the major ones (Caesar's mother being a Pleb...no, and Brutus being part of Caesar's generation where he was actually much younger) are pretty unforgivable. I do hope that he didn't take as many liberties with Mongolia.
Last edited by Adam12; 07-16-2013 at 03:35 PM.
There was a post on Reddit today about the Mongol conquest being the bloodiest war of all time, killing "up to 17% of the world population", 14% more than WW2.
Number sounds like bullshit since it wasn't a sustained thing and happened over a few decades, so a number like that seems meaningless. But it does give some more sense of scale.
Plus the post led to a link to this podcast, Hardcore History, that did a 5 part, 8 hour series on the Mongol conquests.
I'm still avoiding real info, but after I finish this last book I'll be listening to these as I walk the dogs for a while.
Finished the last of the Conqueror books the other night, and book 5 is (as expected) fantastic. Loved the author note at the end again, too.
On a related note, I grabbed the first of the Emperor (Caesar) books, and tore through it in two nights. Not quite as good as the first book of the Mongol series, and I'm not up on my ancient Rome enough to fact check it (and I really don't give a shit anyway) but it's absolutely worth picking up. Same great writing style and really well written characters again.
No transition, that's just like scene to scene. Straight cut from each situation to the next, no explaining how any of it got that way.
That said, it did introduce that Jamukha person to me, who I can not believe was just not in the books in any form. Basically Genghis' biggest bro, ended up being his main rival for control of the Mongols. Half the steppe tribes united behind him and not Genghis, but they eventually lost(after defeating Genghis multiple times) because he let them maintain their tribal allegiances instead of forcing them all to work as one. This wasn't interesting enough for the books??
I'm through the first of the 5 podcast episodes. It's just 1 dude talking so gets kind of droney, but the info is solid and he keeps it interesting and avoids making it in to some dry recitation of history. And I love the opening point about how historians/people tend to ascribe positive motivations to these great historical conquerors(Alexander etc) that were really unintended side effects of the horrible atrocities they committed. "They're shooting the arrow and then painting a bullseye around where it hits". Genghis wasn't trying to spread freedom of religion and make safe trade routs, he was murdering millions for loot. That other shit just came happened=P
^ Wow, I watched (and liked) Mongol, but I figured that the awesome bald dude was just movie fodder. That is a pretty big omission, and would have made for an awesome storyline too.
Here is the entire section of the paper. I also included the footnotes in case anyone felt like doing some research.There are other royal claims, but this is the common doctrine of the great conquerors. It is clear and unequivocal in each case: (1) the monarch rules over all men; (2) it is God who has ordered him to do so and, significantly, none claims authority as originating with himself, but even the proudest claims to be but the humble instrument of heaven;63 (3) it is thus his sacred duty and mission in the world to extend his dominion over the whole earth, and all his wars are holy wars; and (4) to resist him is a crime and sacrilege deserving no other fate than extermination. The most obvious corollary of this doctrine is that there can be only one true ruler on earth. "The eternal command of God is this," wrote Mangu Khan to Louis IX, "in heaven there is but one eternal God; on earth, there is no other master than Chingis Khan, the Son of God."64
Genocide for loot would be a better excuse than genocide because I am god.
Better how? Not that this line of questioning is at all relevant or helpful (history is what it is), but my view is that a calculated deception to kill and plunder is much more blameworthy than killing and plundering because of psychopathic delusions of grandeur.
Because at least the "for loot" shit is being completely honest. We have the power to take it, so we do. Better than divine right.
Keep in mind that I'm saying "better" as in a Shit Sandwich is better than a Green Babyshit Sandwich.
Of the multiple things I've read/seen/heard since the series got me interested the only time any of them mentioned Genghis conquering for God is one time when he said something to the effect that he was clearly God's chosen one as part of an effort to unite the tribes. Some historians view this cynically as a political strategy and not a religious one. If they were conquering for the one God in heaven why did they allow freedom of religion in general, with thousands of Muslims/Christians/Buddhists in their ranks? Supposedly they were less about one true God and more about having all the religions pray for the success/well being of their rulers. They were very practical about their genocides and what would make them run smoothest. Inciting religious fervor in the people you're attacking was not the way to do this.
Religion was an excuse to slaughter "lesser" people and take their lands/wealth/people. Doesn't mean they didn't believe that bullshit, but these evil fuckers were going to rape and pillage one way or the other. Religion is always a nice screen for this stuff.
edit: Obviously I am not an expert, this is just how I'm taking the various versions I'm seeing. And there's a lot of variation in them.
Did you read what I copypasta'd in that spoiler? I didn't take it the whole "chosen by God" thing as an exercise in pragmatism at all. Rather it was all about justifying their empiricism. The Khans, as well as the Muslims Kings, Roman Pontiffs, et.al. didn't give a shit what people's religion was as long as they bowed down and submitted to the king's claims. To them, THAT was the real religion. The only that mattered was being the dude on the throne, not the conquered foes' thoughts on dogma.
Wasn't sure where to put this, but figured this was a decent enough thread for it. I just finished his Julius Caesar series and it's great. Again not quite as good as Genghis, but definitely worth reading.
His next series is about 15th century England, and comes out in December.
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