Another Good Read. “The Mongol Art of War”

by John

I will not be in the workshop for a few days, so I will post some more reviews of books which I have really enjoyed.  (you don’t want to hear about the ones which I thought were crap do you?)


Paperback, 211pp, Pen & Sword Military.


In the thirteenth century the Mongol armies, led by Chinggis Khan and his successors, swept out of the depths of central Asia to conquer China, most of Asia, and much of  Eastern Europe to form the largest contiguous empire which has ever existed.

It was probably only the death of the Khan which prevented the Mongols from conquering all of Europe, in their quest to rule the entire world.

The Mongols rarely lost a battle. 

Dr Timothy May is an expert in Mongol history , and in this eminently  readable book he analyses the available evidence to explain how armies of horse archers took walled cities and defeated heavily armored European knights.   Much of the history of the Mongol conquests is described, but the book is more about how and why the Mongol armies were so successful.

As usual with successful warlords, the Mongol characteristics described are intelligent and ruthless leadership, terror, adoption of new technologies, effective organization, and disciplined soldiers. 

There is finally a most interesting description of the legacy of the Mongol “art of war”, including how the tactics and high degree of mobility of the horse archer armies has been studied and copied by more modern armies, including the panzer forces of the Germans in WW2.

As expected in a book written by a respected academic, there is an extensive glossary, and extra notes for each chapter, select bibliography, and index.

This book will appeal to the general reader, as well as students of the era.

Another excellent read from Pen and Sword.  Highly recommended.

Dr JCL Viggers.


Some basic, but quite useful line drawn maps