The Mongol conquests are certainly impressive, but the Mongols contributed nothing to civilization and in fact destroyed civilization wherever they found it. The author reveals that Europe was spared a Mongol invasion only because the Mongols saw nothing to gain from such a venture, but they did overrun Hungary and Poland to give Europeans a taste of what might be in store for them if they didn’t get their acts together. Genghis Khan was a force of nature, but a wholly negative one, like an earthquake or tsunami leaving death and destruction in its wake and forcing people to pick up the pieces and start over again. His legacy is not nearly as impressive as many historians seem to think it is, this one included.
This was a pretty good book, but unfortunately the author intersperses Mongol history with accounts of his own experiences in modern Mongolia, which he seems to think are fascinating but which I found boring and irrelevant.