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Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World

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Tamerlane

Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World

By Justin Marozzi

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Format: Paperback, 480 pages
Other Information: 16 col plates (16pp)
Published In: United Kingdom, 03 October 2005
A powerful account of the life of Tamerlane the Great (1336-1405), the last master nomadic power, one of history's most extreme tyrants ever, and the subject of Marlowe's play. Marozzi travelled in the footsteps of the great Mogul Emperor of Samarkland to write this wonderful combination of history and travelogue. The name of the last great warlord conjures up images of mystery and romance: medieval warfare on desert plains; the clash of swords on snow-clad mountains; the charge of elephants across the steppes of Asia; the legendary opulence and cruelty of the illiterate, chess-playing nemesis of Asia. He ranks alongside Alexander as one of the world's great conquerors, yet the details of his life are scarcely known in the West. He was not born to a distinguished family, nor did he find his apprenticeship easy - at one point his mobile army consisted only of himself, his wife, seven companions and four horses - but his dominion grew with astonishing rapidity. In the last two decades of the fourteenth century and the beginning of the fifteenth, he blazed through Asia. Cities were razed to the ground, inhabitants tortured without mercy, sometimes enemies were buried alive - more commonly they were decapitated. On the ruins of Baghdad, Tamerlane had his princes erect a pyramid of 90,000 heads. During his lifetime he sought to foster a personal myth, exaggerating the difficulties of his youth, laying claim to supernatural powers and a connection to Genghis Khan. This myth was maintained after his death in legend, folklore, poetry, drama and even opera, nowhere more powerfully than in Marlowe's play - he is now as much a literary construct as a historical figure. Justin Marozzi follows in his path and evokes his legacy in telling the tale of this fabulously cruel, magnificent and romantic warrior.

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A powerful account of the life of Tamerlane the Great (1336-1405), the last master nomadic power, one of history's most extreme tyrants ever, and the subject of Marlowe's play. Marozzi travelled in the footsteps of the great Mogul Emperor of Samarkland to write this wonderful combination of history and travelogue. Tamerlane is one of the most famed conquerors of all time, who inspired great literature, yet the detail is mostly a mystery. This book brings his extraordinary story to a wide audience for the first time. Chosen as a Book of the Year in the Sunday Telegraph. Competition: The Mughal Throne by Abraham Eraly

About the Author

Justin Marozzi is contributing editor of the Spectator. He used to sell tobacco to Libya and was the Financial Times's correspondent in the Philippines for two years. He writes regularly for the Financial Times and has also written for The Times and The Economist and broadcast for the BBC World Service and Radio Four. He is the author of South from Barbary, an account of a journey along the old slave routes of the Libyan Sahara.

Reviews

'Using many contemporary sources, Marozzi creates a convincing portrait of a complex man... 'An engaging mixture of history, travelogue and contemporary reportage... well written and skilfully put together' Jonathan Sumption, Sunday Telegraph (Books of the Year) 'He has brought the mighty warrior in from the cold and allowed him to stalk these pages with bloody magnificence' Sunday Times 'Walking... about the dazzling buildings that are Tamur's legacy, [Marozzi] brilliantly conveys how everything goes in cycles, both in nature and in human affairs.' Daily Telegraph 'Excellent... Provides a superbly rounded and vivid portrait of one of history's most fascinating personalities' Evening Standard 'As well researched in libraries as with boots on the ground in some of the world's more impenetrable places, this is a fine study of a neglected but linchpin historical figure' Daily Mail 'Robust, enthusiastic and richly detailed... full of fascinating, if often gruesome, anecdotes' Literary Review

EAN: 9780007116126
ISBN: 0007116128
Publisher: HarperPerennial
Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 3.2 centimetres (0.32 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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2 review(s)
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Customer on
 
Excellent book on a topic that has been little written about. Considering that Tamerlane/Timur the Lame was the most influential Central Asian conquerer after Genghis Khan, he's been neglected by historians. This book helps fill that gap. Accessible to the general reader - you don't need to know much about Asian history, military history, or whatever, to get something out of this book. Even if you are familiar with such, or have even read specifically about Timur, this is still worth reading. This has everything - the military stuff, broad-ranging political issues of the time, culture, art, architecture, family gossip.

Some readers might be annoyed by the chatty style, and the modern-day diversions into the events of the author's research (rather than the subject of the author's research), the resurrection of Timur as a modern folk hero, and so on. I didn't mind.
Alice on
 
Excellent review of Timur/Tamerlane's period and history.

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