Living from 1215 to 1294, Khubilai Khan is one of history's most renowned figures. Morris Rossabi draws on sources from a variety of East Asian, Middle Eastern, and European languages as he focuses on the life and times of the great Mongol monarch. This 20th anniversary edition is updated with a new preface examining how twenty years of scholarly and popular portraits of Khubilai have shaped our understanding of the man and his time.
In this highly readable biography Rossabi confines himself to historical sources to provide a fascinating life of this great ruler. Although Khubilai acquired the title of Great Khan, the Mongol empire of the 1250s already had broken into four segments, with Khubilai ruling North China. His greatest success came when he was over 60 with the conquest of the southern Sung dynasty. In the last years of his life, however, he suffered from personal tragedies, obesity, alcoholism, and military reverses. Still, Khubilai ruled ``the largest and most populous empire in the history of the world until that time.'' Recommended for most libraries. History Book Club main selection. David D. Buck, Univ. of Wisconsin - Milwaukee