When Ghengis Khan died, his legacy was so powerful — and so disputed — that his family homeland was closed to all outsiders and remained closed until after the fall of the Soviet Union nearly 800 years later. This and other fascinating and bizarre facts about history’s most prolific conqueror can be found in Jack Weatherford’s engrossing if somewhat undercritical biography, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World. And what better time to learn about this astonishing figure, who really did reshape the political landscape from Manchuria to Central Europe, than now, as the Mongolians celebrate his octocentennial?