A magnificently researched history of the ruling women of the Mongol Empire, revealing their struggle to hang on their patrimony and to preserve their nation.
Jack Weatherford tells the gripping story, lost ot history until now, of the female heirs of the Mongol Empire. He beings with the six daughters of Genghis Kahn and the traces their royal families through 250 years of upheaval as the empire tore itself apart, pitting brother against sister and son against mother.
Genghis Khan not only reigned by conquest but by using his female relatives to help expand and stabilize the Mongol Empire. Using sources that range from Chinese diplomatic reports to a text called "The Secret History of Mongols" to Italian letters to the Vatican, Weatherford (anthropology, Macalester Coll.) describes how Khan married off his daughters to the rulers of different kingdoms along the Silk Road and then sent his new sons-in-law off to war, thereby leaving his daughters to rule. From these daughters and their descendants, including the intriguing Queen Manduhai (whose raiding influenced the decision to build parts of the Great Wall of China during the Ming dynasty), we see what an important role these royal women played in Mongol and world history. VERDICT Highly recommended for all readers, especially students of history, Asian studies, or women's studies, wanting to learn more about these Mongol women, who have been studied less than their famous father.—Melissa Aho, Bio-Medical Lib., Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis