Author Finds A Good Side To Genghis Kahn

Severna Park Writer Helps Rewrite Warlord's History

December 31, 1991|By Angela Gambill | Angela Gambill,Staff writer

Genghis Khan isn't anybody's patron saint. But to Severna Park author David McCallum, the emperor of China ought to be.

In his revisionist history, which McCallum has written with a Chinese researcher, he tells the "other" story of the man known as the scourge of the East, the feared Khan who in the 13th century conquered nearly the entireknown civilized world.

"Genghis Khan, Emperor of the Golden Throne" presents Khan's armyas more than simply evil destroyers. The book portrays Khan as bearing the Islamic religion, as well as forcing Europe out of the Dark Ages.

The personal history, laws and conquests of this ancient crownwarrior are brought to life by new research from the People's Republic of China, McCallum says. The book uses words and pictures to present Khan as the man who opened trade routes with the West, bringing the printing press to countries that had not known it and generally increasing knowledge.

"A lot has happened since the definitive book on Khan was published in 1927," says McCallum, 54. "The Chinese have done considerable research."

In his conquest of Persia, Khan set the Persian world in disarray, toppling cities and massacring people, McCallum admits.

"But the positive aspect is that he brought the printing press and abolished the system of Christian mullahs in Europe,destroying what was a decadent system. It's not so much that we're presenting an opposing side as giving people a more authentic approachto the story."

The book, which McCallum is writing in connection with Foreign Languages Press in Bejing, is targeted at the general reader.

The purpose of the book is to upgrade and update a classic work on Genghis Khan, once a top-seller in the United States but now out of print.

"I am not trying to be controversial," insists McCallum, who writes under the Arabic name of Dawd Kullani. "The fact is, China opened trade with Europe, rather than the other way around. Most(English-language) Middle Eastern and Chinese history has been written by British or Americans, in absentia. This is the first attempt for China to present their version, as they have researched it, to the English-speaking public."

All the research work is being done in China, but McCallum has a contract with University Press of America Inc. in Lanham to rewrite and edit the work for the English-speaking public.

Researchers with Foreign Languages Press in China have written five books on the stories of Genghis Khan, including two volumes of 310,000 words. These are the resources McCallum is drawing on for his book.

The book is full of fascinating stories, such as the factthat when the warlord conquered Persia, he seized gold, silver and treasure, including the golden throne of the reigning Persian emperor,ShahMohammad of Kharesma.

Khan carried the throne to China, wherehe and his sons, including Kubla Khan, used the throne for nearly three centuries. McCallum is trying to find out what happened to the throne, but researchers so far have not located the relic, he says.

McCallum hopes to have the manuscript completed by April but may haveto visit China to clear up some questions, as mail takes six days, he says.

The Severna Park author has a background in engineering and started writing four years ago after becoming interested in Mideastaffairs. A research historian, he often travels around the world, researching stories.

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