Tamerlane, aka Temur-the Mongol successor to Genghis Khan-ranks with Alexander the Great as one of the world's great conquerors, yet the details of his life are scarcely known in the West. Born in obscurity and poverty, he rose to become a fierce tribal leader, and with that his dominion and power grew with astonishing speed. He blazed through Asia, razing cities to the ground. He tortured conquered inhabitants without mercy, sometimes ordering them buried alive, at other times decapitating them. Over the ruins of conquered Baghdad, Tamerlane had his soldiers erect a pyramid of 90,000 enemy heads. As he and his armies swept through Central Asia, sacking, and then rebuilding cities, Tamerlane gradually imposed an iron rule and a refined culture over a vast territory-from the steppes of Asia to the Syrian coastline. Justin Marozzi traveled in the footsteps of this fearsome emperor of Samarkand (modern-day Uzbekistan) to write this book, which is part history, part travelogue. He carefully follows the path of this infamous and enigmatic conqueror, recounting the history and the story of this cruel, cultivated, and indomitable warrior.
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