Non-Book Review: The Mongol Conquests

The Mongol Conquests:  The Military Operations Of Genghis Khan and Sube’etei, by Carl Fredrik Sverdrup

Although this is likely to be the last book I request from the De Re Militari for a while since they are moving to limit reviewers to about four books or so a year, considerably less than my usual pace of reviews, this is certainly a worthwhile book that I think I will really enjoy reading and writing about.  I have long been interested in the history of the Mongol Empire [1], and this book provides a detailed look at the battles and, more importantly, the operations, of the two most notable figures in the period of sudden and massive Mongolian conquest of Central Asia and many areas outside of it.  As the two people at the center of this story did a really good job at leading military efforts all over Eurasia, this book contains a great deal of revisionist history that shows that the Mongols were not the smaller army fighting against massive odds but were often a bigger army than their opponents, which does take away a bit from the legend but demonstrates that the Mongol forces not only had strategic and tactical brilliance but the ability to mobilize large forces.

In terms of the book’s content, about half of the book is taken up by Genghis Khan’s operations and about half with the successful attacks of Sube’etei.  We see an interesting view of Mongol power in these operations, looking at Genghis Khan start out as the protege of another Mongolian leader before becoming the overlord of the area, and then invading China and Central Asia, bringing them under Mongol domination at a high cost to the population in both places.  After this the book takes a look at the consolidation of Mongol power over the Caspian Sea and the further conquest of China as well as the invasion of Russia and Eastern Europe.  One thing that concerns me about this book, not necessarily for myself but for most readers, is that this book really appears dense in a discussion of obscure and forgotten places and people in the 13th century.  I get the feeling this will be a book I enjoy but that will be difficult to relate to for others.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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