THREE weeks after its American release, anthropologist
Jack Weatherford's new book Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern
World has been on the New York Times Bestseller List for two weeks,
bringing Mongolia into the literary spotlight.
Weatherford, a professor at Minnesota's Macalester College. has
captured public interest by recasting Chinggis Khaan as the greatest
and most intelligent conqueror, leader, and cultural cross-pollinator
the world has ever seen. This is at odds with popular thought as
the mention of the famous Mongolian conqueror still, for many Westerners,
conjures up the image of a bloodthirsty barbarian on horseback,
roaming and looting the civilized world.
In writing the book. Weatherford spent more than seven years researching
and traveling throughout Asia to uncover the true history of this
mythic figure. It was the end of the Soviet .occupation of Mongolia
that allowed Weatherford a unique opportunity to be one of the first
Westerners to enter the forbidden zone of Chinggis Khaan's childhood
and contested burial ground — an expanse of land that was
impenetrable for nearly eight centuries.