The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire
by Jack Weatherford
2010 / 336 p.
rating: 8.5 / non-fiction / Asia history
Thanks to viscous vandalizing of the documents over the centuries, precious little is known about the daughters of Genghis Khan. We know his sons were lazy, brutal drunks (for the most part), but his daughters were different. Genghis left each of the four of them territories over which to rule and many did well, but we’d never know that from the censored records.
Weatherford, author of a highly acclaimed biography of Ghengis Khan, researched a wide variety of sources to put this book together. Much of it is “life on the steppes” as the women knew it and quite a lot deals with the squabbling warfare of the menfolk, but there is an astonishing amount of material related to each of the four original queens as well as their descendants. Some women are very clearly drawn, others much less so. Weatherford has a smooth and enjoyable style and the maps and his source notes are quite helpful.<