The fourteen chapters of this book tell the events that led to the rise and fall of the Mongol Empire, from its unification by Genghis Khan to its sudden retreat and collapse from Europe following the death of Odgedei Khan in 1241, to the permanent division of its Empire under Kublah Kahn. Few realise this Empire was the second largest in history, covering almost a quarter of the world's land mass from the eastern coast of what is now Russia to Central Europe, encompassing present-day Poland, Austria, Germany, France, Italy, the shores of the Mediterranean, and controlled over 100 million people. Craughwell takes the reader through this remarkable expansion: what made this small, nomadic tribe become one of History's greatest Empires? How did they achieve this? How was this huge Empire run in the days before telephone, fax, email? And why did it suddenly retreat on itself?
Craughwell also shows how their warrior culture influenced tribes and communities left after their retreat - Celts, Goths, Huns, even the Northern Berserker warriors take their mythology and tactics from these hardy horsemen - and takes the reader through the expansion of this magnificent empire to the reasons why it fell, the personalities that shaped its destiny, and what happened to make it collapse so suddenly and dramatically - a history bound to appeal to any reader.
Thomas J. Craughwell (Bethel, CT) is the author of a dozen books, including Failures of the Presidents, How the Barbarian Invasions Shaped the Modern World, and Stealing Lincolns Body (Harvard University Press, March 2007). He has written articles on history, religion, and popular culture for The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, and U.S. News & World Report