Someone very smart once said, winning a prize is one thing but keeping it is another. The latter part of winning - be it a kingdom, a title or just monopoly - is the area my heart truly yearns to learn about. That and about unsung heroes, the men and women who run the show from behind curtains. This would be a machiavellian's favorite bed time story book. These two ingredients, Mr. John Man serves you in large portions with his book on Kublai Khan. How the empire moved from Genghis to Ogedei to to Monkhe to Kublai and how they went about consolidating their wins and expanding from there is wonderful to learn about. I loved how he brings the unsung heroes to light like who the hero was (or so) behind the trebuchet with the why, what and how behind that trivia, about that Jing guy from Song kingdom and his frailties, Sorghaghtani, the Japanese defense build up etc. Very interesting!!Especially, with Mr. John Man's almost stereotypical British upper lip narrative - for example, he has this habit of throwing the most known myth about something and then immediately and abruptly debunking it (reminiscent of P.G Wodehouse if I may dare say). OK, I know the purists will foam at mouth about that considering Mr. John Man is not widely accepted but give that guy a break OK? with a subject as dry as history is, he is doing his best. I am not an expert in Mongolian history but from the sound of it I would say Mr. John Man seems to know what he is talking about. You know, read this book as a respite from whatever genre you are usually into. Trust me, by the time you get through all that mass killing/ genocide/ and crown grabbing written about in this book, you will wish you did not take that vacation from your genre in the first place.