This is a book I picked up off the library shelf on a whim. I have never learned much about world history beyond the Americas and Europe. Africa and Asia are a bit of a mystery to me. (I enjoy homeschooling the kids with a global focus in our history for this very reason.)
Needless to say, I was intrigued by a book about a historical figure I know next-to-nothing about.
Iggulden’s writing style is unique, clear, and paints a colorful picture. The backdrop of the Mongolian plains came into focus with few words. The best thing about it is that he doesn’t water down their culture by inserting our Western, politically-correct notions into it. There is no Western morality or culture imposed on the people in the books. Everything is addressed in a stark, realistic, and honest way. It does not gloss over or glorify any of the “ugly” of ancient Mongolian culture, but neither does it downplay it or hide any of it behind flowery language.
It is what it is, take it or leave it. I appreciated that, as I felt I was able to insert myself into that place, in that time, and understand the motivations behind the actions of one of history’s giants.
It is a violent book at times, as it centers on tribes whose way of life is boiled down to war and survival.
Incredible work of historical fiction, with an afterword explaining the process of writing it and any fictionalizing Iggulden uses to clarify the story for the reader. I am planning on reading the rest of this series, then picking up a good biography on Genghis Khan, to compare.