The Book Club Pune met on Sunday, 13th September to discuss Genghis Khan – Life, Death and resurrection by John Man. Mukul Ahmad, a regular member of The Book Cub has been kind enough to review the presentation by Latika Padgaonkar. Her review is given below:
The author,John Man is a British historian, who has a special interest in China and Mongolia.
Latika Padgaonkar, with a PhD in English from Sorbonne, is a journalist and film critic with special love for both historical fiction and fact.
I wondered why she chose Genghis Khan, a fairly despised figure as known to us. She said that she picked him because he was unique in human history, known as a bloody conqueror but less known as a brilliant political strategist who built the largest contiguous empire known to man. However it was through his heirs that the empire nearly doubled. Man’s tells us a lot about Khan’s early life with instances not available elsewhere. These included episodes that taught the young boy values of loyalty, importance of family, how to spot an ally and how to build relations with other clans. A brief idea of his subduing the Chinese and Persian empires, of assimilating the Mongol clans and becoming their leader is given.
In later life he turned to matters spiritual and it is said that he became an incarnation of the Buddha.
Man describes Mangolian pastoral life which Latika paints vividly for us and mentions the secrecy surrounding his death. The importance of the horse is nowhere more important than in his conquests. He has been resurrected in Mongolia and China today.
Latika’s extensive research, embellished with maps and a command on the subject made it a joy to listen to her.