Genghis Khan set out to conquer the world. His Mongol warriors were the fastest, most efficient army on earth. They destroyed cities, burned villages, and turned farmers into homeless wanderers.
Rumors about the Mongol leader's ruthlessness followed him from East Asia to eastern Europe. But Genghis Khan did not need rumors to make his enemies fear him.
Genghis Khan (ca. 1162-1227) was one mean dude. A hero to present-day Mongolians for uniting the barbaric tribes of the vast Asian steppes and imposing upon them their first laws and written language, to the rest of the then-civilized world his name was synonymous with chaos and terror. It is little wonder, when one considers his modus operandi as described in this action-packed biography fleshed out from the few period details available. Temujin, the young khan in training, began his career by murdering his brother, then proceeded to destroy everyone and everything that might interfere with his becoming one of the greatest conquerors in history. Along the way to building his vast armies, he revolutionized warfare, popularized the "scorched earth" policy as a means of subjugating local populations, and oversaw the killing of millions. The topic-and the methods of destruction used make this "Wicked History" an irresistible read for the bloodthirsty adolescent in all of us. The maps, tribal charts, occasional illustrations and timeline further help to set Genghis Khan within his historical time and place, while a brief concluding square-up discusses the issues of morality involved. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr