Saturday, May 7, 2011
The Scourge of God
""A man's greatest work is to break his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all the things that have been theirs, to hear the weeping of those who cherished them."
--attributed to Ghinghis Khan and later adapted for the movie Conan the Barbarian.
Part of my fascination with Central Asia started with a fascination with Ghengis Khan and his Mongol armies. The Mongal conquest and destruction is unimaginalble even by today's standards. The Mongols terrified the Chinese, Indians, Arab states, Russians and Europeans. Referred to by Europeans of the day as the Scourge of God.
1. The Devil's Horseman, James Chambers (1985). Joined the history book club in the late 1980s. One of my first purchases. Concise history with Ghengis Khan family tree. Bought in the history book club.
2. In the Empire of Ghenghis Khan: An Amazing Odyssey Through the Lands f the Most Feared Conquerors in History, Stanley Stewart (2002). Gift from the author. Stewart is the best writer of the this group. He traveled a thousand miles by horse through Mongolia. He won the Thomas Cook Travel Book of the Year Award. Full disclosure--I admired Stewart's writing so much that when I was trying to write my own book I wrote him. He sent me a hand written note in return with suggestions about how to improve my story. He included with copies of his books.
3. The March of the Barbarians, Harold Lamb (1940). Great sweeping narrative of the Mongols and their invasions by the scholar Harold Lamb. He can translate his scholarly knowledge into a compelling story. Purchased from Dog Eared Books, Northport Michigan.
4. Ghenghis Khan: The Empire of All Men, Harold Lamb (1927). More from Lamb. This one focuses on the life of Ghenghis. Bought used but can't remember where. Previous owner's signature, H.R. McMillion.
5. The Secret History of the Mongols, translated and edited by Francis Woodman Cleaves (1982). Discovered as one of the oldest texts from the time of the Mongols. A history created for Ghenghis Khan's ruling dynasty translated from Mongol. My wife's book from her graduate studies.
6. Storm from the East: From Ghenghis Khan to Khubilai Khan, Robert Marshall (1992). Beautiful full color pictures and maps that accompanied a TV series. Bought used from State Department book store.