Paul Ratchnevsky draws upon Mongol, Chinese, Persian and European sources to provide a penetrating, balanced and readable account of the life of one of the greatest conquerers in world history. He begins with Genghis Khan's youth in the harsh environment of the 12th-century steppe, and describes his rise to power as a young nomad warrior. The author shows how although Genghis was at times as merciless as his reputation suggests, he could also be magnanimous and just. He promoted his followers on merit alone and was even-handed in his distribution of favours. The author considers Mongol administration, military organization, legislation and religious policy. The book ends with an assessment of the legacy and achievements of this extraordinary historical figure, who turned a small, poor and backward nation into the conquerer of the most powerful and civilized state in Asia.