I bought this book.
My rating for The Secret History of the Mongol Queens – 5
“The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire” Jack Weatherford (website) tells a gripping story of lost history and the role the female heirs of Genghis Khan played in his Empire. While the Great Kahn was out conquering the world, his wives and daughters managed his empire, created bureaucracies, public projects and kept trade relationships alive.
While busy conquering the world, Genghis Kahn had a problem, who would manage his empire?
Who could he trust?
In a stroke of genius, Genghis Kahn married his daughters to men who ruled strategic points along the famous Silk Road which not only lent him eyes and ears in those important locations, but also established his presence even though he wasn’t physically there.
These daughters weren’t the timid kind; they were strong, independent women who inherited their father’s political cunningness and warrior spirit. However, after Genghis Khan’s death these strong women, daughters, sisters and sisters-in-law began a power struggle which lasted for centuries and eventually almost destroyed the Empire their father has built.
The book tells an astonishing tale of a once world wide Empire being torn apart by inept rulers, sibling rivalry and incompetent leaders (something I’m sure most of us can relate to) pitting mothers against sons and brothers against sisters.
“The Secret History of the Mongol Queens” ends with the astonishing tale of Queen Mandhuhai the Wise who reunited the Mongols while fighting the Chinese Ming dynasty and the Muslim warlords. Her successful campaigns, which she waged even when pregnant, promoted China to erect the Great Wall and preserved peace for her children and the nation.
Jack Weatherford writes in a style which transcends dry facts and dates, he brings the stories to life while drawing lines between events and people. The author realizes the names are difficult for the English speaking natives and reminds the reader every now and then who a character is when he/she reappears several pages later, which is fantastic. The information is presented in a manner which is not only linear, but also follows a certain path – which makes this book easy to comprehend and a joy to read.
The book is divided into five sections:
Introduction – which introduces the reader to Genghis Kahn, his form of government and the Secret History.
Part I: Tiger Queens of the Silk Route 1206-1241 – talks about the rank of women in Genghis Kahn’s society, family and their roles during war and peace.
Part II: The Shattered Jade Realm 1242-1470 – which starts with the war against women and appropriatly ends with the “Falling Prince and the Rising Queen”.
Part II: Wolf Mother 1470 – 1509 – the amazing stories of women ruling as proper queens without a man at their side and their struggles in a hostile world.
Epilogue – The Mongol secret history has fascinated many people throughout history, from explorers to poets. The answers to these gripping stories are still being slowly found.
Zohar – Man of La Book