Kublai Khan lives on in the popular imagination thanks to these two lines of poetry by Coleridge. But the true story behind this legend is even more fantastic than the poem would have us believe. He inherited the second largest land empire in history from his grandfather, Genghis Khan. He promptly set about extending this into the biggest empire the world has ever seen, extending his rule from China to Iraq, from Siberia to Afghanistan. His personal domain covered sixty-percent of all Asia, and one-fifth of the world's land area.
The West first learnt of this great Khan through the reports of Marco Polo. Kublai had not been born to rule, but had clawed his way to leadership, achieving power only in his 40s. He had inherited Genghis Khan's great dream of world domination. But unlike his grandfather he saw China and not Mongolia as the key to controlling power and turned Genghis' unwieldy empire into a federation. Using China's great wealth, coupled with his shrewd and subtle government, he created an empire that was the greatest since the fall of Rome, and shaped the modern world as we know it today. He gave China its modern-day borders and his legacy is that country's resurgence, and the superpower China of tomorrow.
John Man is a historian and travel writer with a special interest in Mongolia. After reading German and French at Oxford he did two postgraduate courses, one in the history of science at Oxford , the other in Mongolian at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
John has written acclaimed and highly successful biographies of Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun and Kublai Khan as well as Alpha Beta, on the history of the alphabet, and The Gutenberg Revolution, on the invention of printing. He is fast becoming one of the world's most widely read historians.
This work chronicles the conflict between the Indian tribes and the pioneers as the two groups battles for land and the right to live as they pleased. Within this conflict was the idea of “civilization”. This process is discussed in detail as the white settlers attempted to press their own customs and lifestyles upon the ancient Indian tribes.
Under his grandson, Kublai Khan, the vision evolved into a more complex religious ideology, justifying further expansion. Kublai doubled the empire's size until, in the late 13th century, he and the rest of Genghis’s ‘Golden Family’ controlled one fifth of the inhabited world. Along the way, he conquered all China, gave the nation the borders it has today, and then, finally, discovered the limits to growth.
Genghis's dream of world rule turned out to be a fantasy. And yet, in terms of the sheer scale of the conquests, never has a vision and the character of one man had such an effect on the world.
Charting the evolution of this vision, John Man provides a unique account of the Mongol Empire, from young Genghis to old Kublai, from a rejected teenager to the world’s most powerful emperor.
How did he do it? What lessons does his life reveal about the nature of leadership? What is 'greatness' in leadership? What traits did Genghis possess exactly? Were they unique, or might some apply in other times and other places - even here and today?
In Leadership Secrets of Genghis Khan, John Man re-examines the life of Genghis Khan to discover the qualities, characteristics and strategies that made him the great leader that he was. The answers are sometimes surprising. Genghis was far from just the tyrant that history records, but rather a leader of exceptional vision and modernity. And many of the secrets of his success are as valuable and applicable in today's competitive business world as they were in rallying the Mongol hordes.