I’m so glad that you will be taking AP World History next year! In preparation for our course, I have selected one book for all students in the class to read.

Summer Reading

Weatherford, Jack
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
ISBN-10: 0609809644
ISBN-13: 978-0609809648
Amazon Price: $10.17
List price: $14.95

The name Genghis Khan often conjures the image of a relentless, bloodthirsty barbarian on horseback leading a ruthless band of nomadic warriors in the looting of the civilized world. But the surprising truth is that Genghis Khan was a visionary leader whose conquests joined backward Europe with the flourishing cultures of Asia to trigger a global awakening, an unprecedented explosion of technologies, trade, and ideas. In Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford, the only Western scholar ever to be allowed into the Mongols’ “Great Taboo”— Genghis Khan’s homeland and forbidden burial site—tracks the astonishing story of Genghis Khan and his descendants, and their conquest and transformation of the world. He resurrects the true history of Genghis Khan, from the story of his relentless rise through Mongol tribal culture to the waging of his devastatingly successful wars and the explosion of civilization that the Mongol Empire unleashed. This dazzling work of revisionist history doesn’t just paint an unprecedented portrait of a great leader and his legacy, but challenges us to reconsider how the modern world was made.

Assignment: Paper

Question: How did Genghis Khan and his descendants make the modern world?

Requirements: 2 pages. Have a thesis statement in the first paragraph. Include at least 3 examples and support your statements with quotes from the text.

Due: September 4th, 2014.


I check my email infrequently over the summer, but I will promise you a reply within a few days. Email me at: agessaman@gfalls.wednet.edu.Additional Reading
The following books are excellent reads and will contribute to your knowledge for APWH. You are encouraged, but not required, to read any/all of them.

Additional Reading Opportunities

“Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies” by Jared Diamond
This is the definitive work of environmental determinism, the idea that scientific and environmental factors can best explain the course of history. Although a challenging read, it is also the most helpful. Recommended for science aficionados.

“When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405-1433” by Louise Levathes*
This book focuses in on an important era in Chinese history when they were interested in overseas trade and exploration. This subject frequently appears on AP exams.

“1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus” by Charles C. Mann
This popular bestseller revised modern notions of life in the Americas before European colonization. Recommended for those interested in Native American civilizations.

“King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa” by Adam Hochschild
This is an excellent book on the Belgian Congo that provides numerous insights into the era of imperialism. Aside from the author’s occasional sermonizing, it is a fascinating and important piece of historical detective work.

“Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise History of Latin America” by John Charles Chasteen
This book is an excellent summary of Latin America in the modern era. This book would not only be helpful to incoming AP World students, but would provide some historical context for those sophomores taking AP Spanish.

“Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World” by Margaret MacMillan
This book examines the global impact of the peace treaties that ended World War I. This story is critical for understanding the 20th century, and makes for a fascinating read.

“The Middle East” by Bernard Lewis
A sweeping summary of the region throughout all of world history by the most respected Middle Eastern scholar in America. The discussion of change over time in a single region is a key component of the AP curriculum.

“The Adventures of Ibn Battuta” by Ross E. Dunn
Details the life and extensive travels of Ibn Battuta, an Islamic scholar of the fourteenth century, interpreting his career as a diplomatic envoy within the cultural and social context of Islamic society.

“Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment” by Deepak Chopra
An account of the life of the Buddha, written for western readers, traces his spiritual journey while explaining how his experiences and teachings have changed the world and continue to influence every facet of life.

“Gunpowder: Alchemy, Bombards, and Pyrotechnics” by Jack Kelly
Traces the history of the explosive mixture created by Chinese alchemists in the tenth century, a critical invention that has fueled innovations and shaped the technology of warfare and the evolution of modern history.

“Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe*
This is a story of a man whose life is dominated by fear and anger and is written with remarkable economy and subtle irony. The contemporary African writer's classic novel depicting the destruction of traditional tribal life by the white man.

“Gandhi Before India” by Ramachandra Guha*
A history of Mohandas Gandhi before he became the central figure in India’s independence movement.

“Train to Pakistan” by Khushwant Singh*
A novel about the suffering of millions during the partition of India.