Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World

Book Reviews | May 20th, 2008

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Author: Justin Marozzi
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Genre: History
Pages: 480
Retail Price: 9.99
Buy on Amazon.com link

Tamerlane is an interesting historical character. Soon after the exploits of Genghis Khan, Tamerlane – also a Mongol leader – conquered most of the known Eastern world, ruthlessly amassing more victories and land than Alexander the Great or Genghis. And yet I’d never even heard of him.

I looked forward to this book to learn more about this warlord that Western history has forgotten. Unfortunately, although exhaustive and descriptive, Marozzi fails to paint a clear picture. Jumping around chronologically and going off on tangents, including much discussion on the present-day areas and the author’s own travels, the book can be a disorganized chore. Marozzi describes battles and scenes beautifully, but I could never keep up where and when these things took place. It took a few pages into one event to realize he was talking about Genghis Khan.

I think Marozzi wanted to add modern-day context to justify the relevance of his work, and, as a result, muddies up the historical narrative. The book is somewhat interesting, but not clear enough for the reader to feel comfortable. I felt like giving up quite often and simply look up Tamerlane’s Wikipedia entry.

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