Genghis Khan and the Quest for God

Genghis Khan and the Quest for God

How the World's Greatest Conqueror Gave Us Religious Freedom

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Penguin Putnam
A landmark biography by the New York Times bestselling author of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World that reveals how Genghis harnessed the power of religion to rule the largest empire the world has ever known.

Throughout history the world's greatest conquerors have made their mark not just on the battlefield, but in the societies they have transformed. Genghis Khan conquered by arms and bravery, but he ruled by commerce and religion. He created the world's greatest trading network and drastically lowered taxes for merchants, but he knew that if his empire was going to last, he would need something stronger and more binding than trade. He needed religion. And so, unlike the Christian, Taoist and Muslim conquerors who came before him, he gave his subjects freedom of religion. Genghis lived in the 13th century, but he struggled with many of the same problems we face today: How should one balance religious freedom with the need to reign in fanatics? Can one compel rival religions - driven by deep seated hatred--to live together in peace?

A celebrated anthropologist whose bestselling Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World radically transformed our understanding of the Mongols and their legacy, Jack Weatherford has spent eighteen years exploring areas of Mongolia closed until the fall of the Soviet Union and researching The Secret History of the Mongols, an astonishing document written in code that was only recently discovered. He pored through archives and found groundbreaking evidence of Genghis's influence on the founding fathers and his essential impact on Thomas Jefferson. Genghis Khan and the Quest for God is a masterpiece of erudition and insight, his most personal and resonant work.

Baker & Taylor
Reveals how Genghis Khan harnessed the power of religion to rule the largest empire the world has ever known. By the New York Times best-selling author of Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World.

Publisher: New York, New York :, Viking,, [2016]
ISBN: 9780735221154
Characteristics: xxiii, 407 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

May 30, 2018

We often judge the past through the prism of modern mores. I found this account of Genghis Khan fascinating. Jack Weatherford brings Temujin's life alive. He documents his conclusions well (that's not to agree that they are 100% correct) and makes me believe Temujin was not only an intelligent person but a wise one. There is much to be admired in how he conducted his life, how he inspired those around him and how he created a solid foundation for his people to do well. I also enjoyed hearing from the women in Temujin's life. They also seemed especially wise and he learned much from them. I don't doubt that conduct then would be abhorred by many now, but I can see those being defeated, who were the ones telling the tales, would have painted a pretty ugly picture. Western culture has longed believed Genghis Khan to be a barbarian, but this book shows us a much different character - one we can learn much from.

For me, I found the constant thread of Temujin's belief in "God" a revealing aspect. Today, we have many religions espousing black & white dogma. It seems no different from what Genghis Khan encountered. Weatherford tells us that he seemed to waiver little from his early belief of God being an all-encompassing force that was not and should not be bottled into human form or lessened by being only what one Prophet says He is. I can relate to that belief.

Mar 02, 2017

With a due respect to StarGladiator, it doesn't sound like you read the book. During Genghis Khan's life those things did not occur. It was after his death and competition for the empire between his sons and grandsons that those things occurred. In fact Genghis Khan's wives were queens in their own right, with courts, and lands and subjects. In his absence they were the administrators of his empire.

Anyway, If you are interested in this area of history, this is a wonderful book. It seems we humans who think we are the top of the food chain, still cannot allow each other freedom of belief.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at CSM

To Top