Genghis Khan the World Conqueror Volume 1 by Sam Djang: A Book review

IMG_20130116_205327We  learned  from   World History  that Genghis Khan is known as The Scourge of God or The Destroyer of Civilization. He was an emperor   known for   killing  in cold blood  just to achieve his desire to conquer the world under his Mongol Empire.  So he went down in the history  as one of the most feared  leaders  in all ancient civilizations. In this historical-biographical book, Sam  Djang must have intended to distort the said universal fact . According to him, Genghis Khan is the greatest human conqueror in the world history.  

The problem with this  book, however,  is that it  seems to be poorly written. Sam Djang may have had a hard time putting the plethora of information about Genghis Khan he gleaned for 8 years into his own masterpiece. In fact, it is his first book he has ever written. In short, he is an amateur writer. For  instance, he may have copied out the style of the Bible, for he may have not known how to narrate Genghis Khan’s historical ancestral family tree. Why not? That part could just serve as padding. In addition, there are some repetitive parts which cringed me many times, which he may not have considered thoroughly. He mentioned the same situations  in different   parts of the chapters, so they sound to be monotonous and you might claim, “What?” Nevertheless, his effort paid off, for it won a special award in 2011 as Best Historical Fiction.Clap! Clap! Clap!

Despite some shortcomings, for me, this historical-biographical novel is informative. It gives me a lot of information about the Mongol Empire- how the Mongol conqueror was well on his way to conquering half of the world. I understood more what the  cliché goes : “Barbarians against Barbarians” is all about. Besides, I found it low-brow. I did not have difficulty understanding some words or phrases. ( It might have been his intention.) I even enjoyed some Mongolian words.

Genghis Khan

What struck me most is his deep brotherly relationship with Jamuka. I could not avert my thought from the suspicion that they may have had something deeper than that said brotherly relationship. Sam Djang is too euphemistic, cautious, and cliffhanging to describe their relationship, or I was just too quixotic to expect something  more than  this. (laughs)

Repulsed by his brutality and unsure of the credibility of this book, I revered Genghis Khan’s life stories- his philosophies in life, his political strategies, especially his religious viewpoints.

In the end, I may be convinced that Genghis Khan may be the greatest human conqueror in the world history. Also, I may be convinced that Mongol Empire is the biggest Empire in the world history. Not that I know of. I guess I still need a library of historical books. ^__^

Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked  it.)


A Hanging by George Orwell: A Book Review

a-hanging-george-orwell-nThis is a perfect combination with Shooting an Elephant ( by the same author ) in one book . The feelings both convey in the sentences could bring about nuclear fission. (laughs) I would , for sure, give it 5 stars .

Just the kidding aside. This is a perfect essay for the perpetual global issue now : imposing capital punishments on prisoners or captives. One of the punishments that has still been being  practiced is hanging. Recently, ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) was reported to have hanged few Egyptian Christians in light of their ideologies. In fact, it is sad to say that not only  does  such group embrace this kind of blood-curdling punishment , but also 58 countries still do. Twenty three of these countries have executed 527 people. To put it bluntly, most of the countries that still embrace death penalty are  China, the United States, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Yemen, Indonesia, and Iraq.*They uphold death penalty laws for some reasons. On the contrary, whatever argumentative reasons these countries have, in my humble opinion, I am absolutely against DEATH PENALTY, not that it is unconstitutional in our country, not that our country is a religious country, not that we are crime-free. In effect, we have floats of crocodiles in kind unless we were still living in a dark era when people were still intellectually and morally immature to kill one another, weren’t we? If we are in reality at the present time, DEATH PENALTY is applicable when we are all in danger to get annihilated. Tsk tsk tsk Orwell was right: There is such an evil.

Upon reading this essay, there are lines that dwelt upon me:

“It is curious, but till that moment I had never realised what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man. When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide. This man was not dying, he was alive just as we are alive. All the organs of his body were working – bowels digesting food, skin renewing itself, nails growing, tissues forming – all toiling away in solemn foolery. His nails would still be growing when he stood on the drop, when he was falling through the air with a tenth of a second to live. His eyes saw the yellow gravel and the grey walls, and his brain still remembered, foresaw, reasoned – even about puddles. He and we were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world; and in two minutes, with a sudden snap, one of us would be gone – one mind less, one world less.”

Gee, this part makes my flesh creep! A message coming from the other planet.

This essay sounds journalistic “in a sense “ ( now infected by Orwell’s favorite word in his essays ) that Orwell had witnessed different kinds of state wars. His description about the prisoners, the miserably sordid camp, the hanging place, the dog, the atmosphere- they are one in a picture in my mind.

As I reviewed his essay Shooting an Elephant ( 4 stars ), Orwell’s writing styles are sooo impressive. I really liked it despite its ending is ridiculous. I am now getting more familiar with his trademark.


Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it. )

Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization by Nicholson Baker: A Book Review

humansmokeSome critics consider this book now as a classic. It is indeed. First, if you were not a History professor nor do you have enough knowledge of the beginnings of World War II; then, it is the key to your curiosity. The author Nicholson Baker himself, gleaned all the government transcripts, news articles, memoirs, and journals from various personalities to create such a masterpiece compendium. Unlike reading the blow-by-blow accounts of the world history from our school textbooks, this book will get you to the deeper soul . You can understand the real persona of the main creators of the unforgettable and heinous war. Second, it is a question for a new civilized man like you whether war is the best solution to attaining the world peace or not. If you are a pacifist, you may give your side to Mohandas Gandhi, or you may take back your cause. If you are pro-war under any circumstances, you may be obdurate or change your viewpoints, for you might feel the deep emotions conveyed in the diaries written by the victims of the Holocaust. It is like you are under the deep blue sea.

I liked this book because I was always excited to turn every page as though I was eager to know what was going to happen next, what the exact details before Japan surrendered to the USA, since I have the ideas of how Japan buckled under the atomic bomb, as though I was overcome with the horrible conditions of the Jews as the butt of prejudice. But I was disappointed when the exact details about how the war ended were not narrated as though I wanted to kick and scream because of my excitement at how Roosevelt and Churchill had came up with the idea of dropping the atomic bomb, at what course of action Japan took after the war. Nicholson Baker may have intended it. But if I were him, to satisfy the readers, I would have written the details. He must have collected the articles. It would be like as though I had enjoyed reading the beginning and end of the story. Then, I would love to recommend it to my friends, nephews or nieces if they want to understand more the beginning and the end of World War II. Or I would have rated this 4 stars.

This book, on the other hand, has taken the brunt of negative reviews. For some reviewers, it is a “strangely childish book”, “self-important or self-righteous”, “fraud” , blah blah blah. But in my humble opinion, Baker may have intended to write such style – since most of his works focus on stream of consciousness – to lead the readers to the debate about PACIFISM. He may have intended to leave the readers patch up all the grains so that they can conclude their own opinions. He may have known that readers would consider this as “ pablum”. Whatever it is, I would say that this is a good read although the ending is lamentable since the title emphasizes the beginnings of Word War II and the END of Civilization.

I have had some insights into this book. Churchill turned out to be more aggressive than Roosevelt. He could almost be in parallel with Hitler. Hitler, on the other hand, was an ambiguous man. You might have the impression that he was a hypocrite. I think he was.

Rating: 3/ 5 stars

Cool War: The Future of Global Competition by Noah Feldman: A Book Review

cool warThis book is worth reading. It is what the doctor just ordered because nowadays, the relationship between China and my country has never been good for one reason: China has been laying claim to the Spratly Islands , apparently located in our territory based on the international law. However, nowadays, China has been obstinate and aggressive. They are now building a military base on one of the islets despite the fact that the Philippines has submitted its complaints to the international tribunals. Our government has even had diplomatic discourses with its government many times. Why China’s attitude toward us is like this? Upon reading this, my self-analyses have been proven right: China’s economy is rising and China wants to expand its geostrategy.

COOL WAR, for Noal Feldman, means two countries are economically interdependent, but tend to be at odd against each other when it comes to geostrategy. The words are far different from COLD WAR when two countries have aggressive competition for building nuclear plants.

N.Feldman emphasized the probable risks China could pose to the world, particularly to the USA when its economy has been symmetrical with the USA. In other words, China still does not have the ability to declare a war against the USA in the event of misunderstanding since surprisingly, the USA has a considerable amount of debt to China.By the same token, China still cannot brag its economy NOW because losing America could paralyze its economy. Therefore, both depend on each other. To put it mildly, Feldman emphasized that a big economy has been proven to be the best key to becoming a super power. However, no matter what underlying reasons that restraint both of them, paradoxically, each of them avoids waging a war.

Enough said! I am almost a spoiler now. You should read it. The book deals with Feldman’s analyses of the origin of cool war, especially his anatomical dissection of China’s economic values.

No matter how considerably detailed the book is , it is apparent in my humble opinion that China still has hidden DESIRE to be a super power. Gee, Feldman’s analyses could be the auguries. This is how complicated our world is. So, reading such genre is an eye-opener.

Rating: 5 / 5 stars