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Publisher's Summary

Sweeping out of Central Asia in the last half of the 14th century came the Tatar armies of Timur, known as Tamerlane in the West, and one of history's supremely gifted military leaders. With consummate skill, Tamerlane cobbled together a kingdom from the tattered leftovers of various Mongol fiefdoms. He then enlarged that fiefdom into a large and menacing power in the center of Asia. But when the mighty Mongolian empire decided to crush out this upstart rival, it was too late.
Tamerlane not only defeats the Mongols, but goes on to vanquish the Persians, the Indians and the mighty Ottoman Turks in successive wars. It was one of the most astounding developments imaginable, doubly so because of its swiftness and decisiveness. And at the time of his death in 1405, Tamerlane was on his way to invade and subdue China with an army of 200,000.
Ruling from his fabulous capital of Samarkand, he was a fascinating, controversial, and contradictory tyrant. He was both a destroyer and a builder, a barbarian and a cultured gentleman. He was ostensibly Muslim, but was the scourge of Muslim states, who vilify him to this day. The Tatar empire at his death approached the dimensions of the earlier Khans of Mongolia, yet it melted away immediately after his passing.
In yet another superb historical work, Harold Lamb brings the mighty Tatar leader to vivid life and shows how this ruthless commander used his superior intellect and magnetic leadership to overcome one obstacle after another. Tamerlane was truly one of the most remarkable personalities ever to emerge from the steppes of Central Asia.
(P)2007 Audio Connoisseur
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By curt on 12-23-08

The man that conquered Afganistan

Great book, very infomative on the culture, traditions, and motivations of a forgotten people. Lamb points out that there have only been three successful conquers. Alexander, Ghengis Khan, and Tamerlain.
Tamerlain was a tarter, not a mongol as most people believe. Great story well written. Kept my interest even while driving in the snow at night (sleepy time!)
The author looked at the facts--the history having been written by those he defeated--and gave an accurate picture of an ignored giant of history!
I also recommend Lambs book on Ghengis Khan.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful


By Eric Nicolas Morgan on 02-07-11

Exploring an ignored time and region in history

Harold Lamb is a master who brings characters in history to life. While I preferred "Hannibal: One Man Against Rome", I found this to be an excellent book. History too often seems to pretend that central Asia doesn't exist and that the Romans were the only empire builders worth remembering. I knew nothing of the events and people described in this book before I listened to this book, and now wish to learn more.

Some people complain about the narration, although I'm not sure what they didn't like. Charlton Griffin does an excellent job and adds a dramatic flair to the reading that some seem to dislike. (What would they prefer, a dry recitation?)

My only complaint is that I still feel like I know too little. I'm so ignorant of the region and its history, that I struggled to tie the story to the modern world. I don't know if I could find Samarkand on a map, and didn't recognize half the place names he mentioned, even when he placed them "near modern wherever". But that is only a complaint of the scope of my ignorance of the region and its history, and not of the book itself.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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By Dave on 03-27-12

Not an easy listen

I don't know a lot about Tamerlane - that is why I chose this book - so I can't comment on the scholarly content. However I found it very much bulked out with long evocative descriptions of bleak landscapes or dancing girls at some gathering, and after a while you start to crave something a bit more substantial. I guess the problem is we simply do not have that much information, so the author has to flesh it out with scene-setting, although I was more than disappointed that an entire expedition to India was covered merely from the perspective of the womenfolk left behind waiting the return of their men. If we have no details then just say so - don't turn it into an exercise in evocative prose.

Part of the problem may be the age of the book. I don't know when it was written but it was clearly some time ago from certain references. However another problem is the reader. I have heard several books read by this guy, and just can't face any more. He speaks with an extremely posh accent, and I don't just mean he speaks well rather than 'common'. Some of his choices in pronunciation are very odd and for all I know they fit well in academic Oxbridge circles, but they just annoy the average reader.

So, would I recommend this book? Not particularly, although it may well be a fine study of a little-known subject. The sheer quantity of pointless fluff, and the highly irritating manner of the reader, are enough to make me think I could have made better use of my time.

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By Jason on 08-19-10

tamerlane = OK

good book, easy to follow the history line.

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