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The Devil’s Horsemen by James Chambers

May 30, 2008

James Chambers expertly tells the riveting tale of the Mongol invasions of Europe. This book is a real page turner, as the Mongol battles with the Khwarizm empire lead Ghengis to decide that no nation on his own borders should ever again be strong enough to threaten the Mongol empire. To that end, he send a couple of his generals to scout the western extent of the great steppe. And so it begins.

What in Europe was remembered as a calamity from the clear sky was merely a patrol in force, scouting the edge of the grasslands. Easily able to outfight superior numbers of troops given their greater mobility and tactical ability, the Mongols swept aside all defences, and then promptly disappeared. To the Europeans it was a deliverance from God. In fact, the Mongol general’s allotted time was up, and they returned to report back on what they had found.

Chambers’ book really brings the Mongol empire to life, giving them their proper place in world history, as the pre-eminent empire and military force of their time. Sending out the patrol across the steppes was one of Ghengis Khan’s last acts, and he died soon after. The five thousand mile round trip taken by his general Subedei is something still studied today by military tacticians.

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