I finished Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World recently. (Author Jack Weatherford.) Some thoughts follow ...
From the dust jacket:
"The Mongol Army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in twenty-five years than the Romans did in four hundred. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization. Vastly more progressive than his European or Asian counterparts, Genghis Khan abolished torture, granted universal religious freedom, and smashed feudal systems of aristocratic privilege. From the story of his rise through the tribal culture to the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed this brilliant work of revisionist history is nothing less than the epic story of how the modern worldwas made."
First off, that's the first time I've ever seen 'revisionist history' used proudly ; )
In the comments I'm going to lay out some of the themes Weatherford's narrative evokes. Starting tonight yet ; )