Hot Best Seller

The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia

Availability: Ready to download

While the early history of the steppe nomad is shrouded in obscurity, The Empire of the Steppes brings to the general reader and the specialist the majestic sweep, grandeur, and the overriding intellectural grasp of Grousset's original. Hailed as a masterpiece when first published in French in 1939, and in English in 1970, this great work of synthesis brings before us the While the early history of the steppe nomad is shrouded in obscurity, The Empire of the Steppes brings to the general reader and the specialist the majestic sweep, grandeur, and the overriding intellectural grasp of Grousset's original. Hailed as a masterpiece when first published in French in 1939, and in English in 1970, this great work of synthesis brings before us the great people of the steppes, dominated by three mighty figures - Attila, Genghiz Khan, and Tamberlain - as they marched through ten centuries of history, from the borders of China to the frontiers of the West. Includes nineteen maps, a comprehensive index, notes, and bibliography.


Compare

While the early history of the steppe nomad is shrouded in obscurity, The Empire of the Steppes brings to the general reader and the specialist the majestic sweep, grandeur, and the overriding intellectural grasp of Grousset's original. Hailed as a masterpiece when first published in French in 1939, and in English in 1970, this great work of synthesis brings before us the While the early history of the steppe nomad is shrouded in obscurity, The Empire of the Steppes brings to the general reader and the specialist the majestic sweep, grandeur, and the overriding intellectural grasp of Grousset's original. Hailed as a masterpiece when first published in French in 1939, and in English in 1970, this great work of synthesis brings before us the great people of the steppes, dominated by three mighty figures - Attila, Genghiz Khan, and Tamberlain - as they marched through ten centuries of history, from the borders of China to the frontiers of the West. Includes nineteen maps, a comprehensive index, notes, and bibliography.

30 review for The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia

  1. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    This is a great synthesis work on the history of Central Asia that may never be superseded because of the challenges in learning all the necessary languages. It must be understood that this is purely a political history. There is no effort to touch social, economic or demographic, literary or architectural history. The other GoodsRead reviewers who complained of the lack of maps, pictures and other illustrations are highly justified. With very little trouble, this excellent political history cou This is a great synthesis work on the history of Central Asia that may never be superseded because of the challenges in learning all the necessary languages. It must be understood that this is purely a political history. There is no effort to touch social, economic or demographic, literary or architectural history. The other GoodsRead reviewers who complained of the lack of maps, pictures and other illustrations are highly justified. With very little trouble, this excellent political history could have been transformed into a more informative book for the amateur reader.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bryn Hammond

    I doubt I can be objective on this book. It was my first full-scale history of the steppe; my first real acquaintance with the life of Jenghiz Khan, too (as spelt in Grousset). First published 1939; in print for its 'majestic sweep and grandeur... the intellectual grasp of Grousset's original masterwork'... 'uniquely great'. That's from the forward to the 1970 edition in English, and I might just end my comments there. It is a sweep of steppe history, and captured my imagination: his descriptions I doubt I can be objective on this book. It was my first full-scale history of the steppe; my first real acquaintance with the life of Jenghiz Khan, too (as spelt in Grousset). First published 1939; in print for its 'majestic sweep and grandeur... the intellectual grasp of Grousset's original masterwork'... 'uniquely great'. That's from the forward to the 1970 edition in English, and I might just end my comments there. It is a sweep of steppe history, and captured my imagination: his descriptions of steppe art; his portrait of Jenghiz Khan, and the latter's similarity to Attila. I met Jenghiz Khan here, and perhaps that's why I can't stand most biographies of him - because he's as Grousset paints him, at bottom, to me. It's a striking portrait and one not easily overwritten, if Grousset's came first. Since he wrote in 1939 he has outdated knowledge and of course you have to read further. But for that 'majestic sweep' and steppe history seen as a follow-on whole, for his brave attempts to characterize such as Attila and Jenghiz, and not least for his open mind and sympathy with nomad peoples - I'm so glad that by mere accident, I started here.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    A big ambitious book that seeks to describe two thousand years of history of a vast area in only 542 pages! It was dense writing, but surprisingly readable. Not that I absorbed everything. But I found if I kept reading the story would wash over me. I can't tell you much about most of the historical characters whose lives are recounted in the book, but the book taught me a lot about the overall history of Central Asia. There were some problems and/or oddities with the book. It was written in the 1 A big ambitious book that seeks to describe two thousand years of history of a vast area in only 542 pages! It was dense writing, but surprisingly readable. Not that I absorbed everything. But I found if I kept reading the story would wash over me. I can't tell you much about most of the historical characters whose lives are recounted in the book, but the book taught me a lot about the overall history of Central Asia. There were some problems and/or oddities with the book. It was written in the 1930s and at places it would show its age. The book used the word "orientalist" without any negative connotation. Grousset seemed to assume that ethnic groups and races had certain inherent characteristics that he talks about much more openly than a modern author would. He used a few turns of phrases that would not be used today because they have a sexual connotation (e.g. numerous times he writes that some military leader "took [his opponent] from the rear" meaning his military outflanked him and won the battle). There's also a question about how much of the book holds up. For example, early in the book Grousset talks about the Hsiung-Nu, a Central Asian nomadic people who attacked the Chinese empire in the first century A.D. According to Chinese sources, the Chinese fought the Hsiung-Nu off, and they exited Chinese history after being driven into Central Asia to the West of China. Three hundred years later, the Huns invade Europe from Western Asia. Grousset claimed they are the same people, having traveled across Asia during those three hundred years, passing through an area where no one was recording history. It's an interesting idea, so I googled around and found out that the theory has not held up very well since this book was written. Grousset makes a whole lot of claims throughout the book. Obviously, I did not check into most of them. But the questionable Hsiung-Nu-Huns claim made me wonder what else in the book might not have held up. Grousset is also very conscious of which groups are Persian, Mongol, Turkic or Chinese. But he refers to both the Kipchaks and the Uzbeks as Mongols, when in fact they are both Turkic. Again, what else did he get wrong? But these are mostly quibbles when you consider the book as a whole. The above questions don't cut into his overall thesis, that the history of Asia was governed by a cycle up until the modern era. Settled cultures would be periodically invaded by nomadic people. Sometimes the settled people would fight them off, but the nomads had certain advantages (nomads tended to be tougher because they came from a harsher environment, and settled people had more stuff to defend) and a lot of times they would win and conquer the settled civilization. Once they were in charge, however, the nomads would be seduced by the comforts of civilized life and adopt the culture of the conquered people. Then they would becomes the settled culture, ready for the next nomadic invasion who sometimes turned out to be their distant cousins. Grousset fills the book with examples, of Mongols and Turks going from the barbarian hordes threatening Persia and China, to establishing dynasties that became Chinese or Persian.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    His biases are showing, and I would really love to see someone re-translate with a knowledge of all the material released form Mongolia since the fall of the USSR, however I still give it four stars for its thoroughness on covering the topic. Note: I skimmed this for a research paper, focusing on the late 13th century and early 14th century.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kübra Yağmur Aslanhan

    Osmanlı İmparatorluğu Tarihi Ek Okuması #2 ÖSYM ile ringe çıkacakmış gibi hissediyorum kendimi. İstekleri kadar tarih sorabilirler. Osmanlı İmparatorluğu Tarihi Ek Okuması #2 ÖSYM ile ringe çıkacakmış gibi hissediyorum kendimi. İstekleri kadar tarih sorabilirler.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mehmet Akif Koç

    Büyük Fransız Şarkiyatçı René Grousset'nin 1930'ların sonunda kaleme aldığı ve uzun yıllar önce Prof. Halil İnalcık'ın tercüme edip Türk Tarih Kurumu'nun "Stepler İmparatorluğu: Attila, Cengiz Han, Timur" adıyla yayınladığı kitap, Asya steplerinin göçebe halklarının tarihi açısından bir başyapıt niteliğinde. Kitap, İskit-Sarmatlardan başlayarak, Hunlar, Tukyular (Göktürkler), Uygurlar, Juan-Juanlar, Oğuzlar, Kıpçaklar, Tunguzlar, Moğollar, Mançular ve Tümurlular gibi step haklarının tarihi eksen Büyük Fransız Şarkiyatçı René Grousset'nin 1930'ların sonunda kaleme aldığı ve uzun yıllar önce Prof. Halil İnalcık'ın tercüme edip Türk Tarih Kurumu'nun "Stepler İmparatorluğu: Attila, Cengiz Han, Timur" adıyla yayınladığı kitap, Asya steplerinin göçebe halklarının tarihi açısından bir başyapıt niteliğinde. Kitap, İskit-Sarmatlardan başlayarak, Hunlar, Tukyular (Göktürkler), Uygurlar, Juan-Juanlar, Oğuzlar, Kıpçaklar, Tunguzlar, Moğollar, Mançular ve Tümurlular gibi step haklarının tarihi ekseninde, hem bu kavimlerin yükseliş ve çöküşlerini, hem de birbirleriyle ve yerleşik Çin, Hindistan, İran ve Anadolu halklarıyla ilişkilerini ustalıkla ele alıyor. Kitapta bence en ilgi çekici bölümler, bu step kavimlerinin tarihi, coğrafi, kültürel ve askeri açılardan birbirleriyle benzerlik ve farklılık gösterdikleri hususiyetlerin ele alındığı mukayeseli bölümler. Bu çerçevede Cengiz ve Timur'un, keza kurdukları imparatorlukların tüm yönleriyle karşılaştırması kaydadeğer. Grousset ayrıca, step göçebelerinin yerleşik medeniyetler karşısındaki hayranlık ve nefret duygularını, ele geçirdikleri mamurelerde bir süre sonra eski hakim medeniyetlerin tesirine girerek "erimeleri ve kaybolmalarını" başarılı bir şekilde tasvir etmiş. Velhasıl, içerisindeki fazlasıyla ayrıntılı tafsilatla tam bir başvuru kaynağı olmasının yanısıra, erken dönem Türk tarihi ve bilhassa Çin, Orta Asya ve İran Türk tarihi açısından da mutlaka okunması gereken kıymetli bir eser. İnalcık Hoca'nın dikkatli tercümesi de kitabı daha takip edilebilir kılıyor...

  7. 5 out of 5

    John

    Interesting and very helpful, as it covers a lot of history, and tends to relate events simply; however, the book is full of biases, particularly an orientalist bias.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    The Empire of the Steppes: a History of Central Asia by Rene Groussett. Published in 1970 by Rutgers I picked this book up two years ago because I had a vague interest in the steppes and Central Asia and I’m really glad I did. While it is an old book, originally published in 1939, it is surprisingly sympathetic to the various tribes and races discussed. There are some glaring word choices that reveal its age (like using orientalist unironically), but it didn’t impact the overall reading experienc The Empire of the Steppes: a History of Central Asia by Rene Groussett. Published in 1970 by Rutgers I picked this book up two years ago because I had a vague interest in the steppes and Central Asia and I’m really glad I did. While it is an old book, originally published in 1939, it is surprisingly sympathetic to the various tribes and races discussed. There are some glaring word choices that reveal its age (like using orientalist unironically), but it didn’t impact the overall reading experience. It is an in depth and compelling overview of the steppes from early human history to the 18th century. The first two chapters of the book are hard to get through, especially for someone like me who didn’t know anything about the region before reading the book. I’d actually recommend skipping the first two chapters and start with Genghis Khan as that is when Groussett’s writing shines the brightest. This book is considered to be a must read for anyone who is interested in Central Asia and I think that’s true for two reasons. One, it provides a great foundation for understanding Genghis Khan’s and Tamerlane’s empires. Two, it seems to be the origin of many stereotypes and misconceptions about the region, especially in its relationship to the West. I like to read older books, because I like to see how the narrative of a region, a person, or a historical event has evolved. This book was very insightful, because a lot of modern narratives surrounding Central Asia, seem to have either originated with this book or became popular with this book. There are three narratives that comes up often in this book which seem quaint: • There was a battle between the Christian West and the Islamic East and the ‘good’ Mongols were those who either tolerated Christianity or were outright hostile to Islam • Tribes can be understood through generic traits and they were uncivilized and barbaric and only became civilized through interactions with sedentary tribes • Genghis Khan won because there is something inherently warriorlike about his tribes, not because of a utilization of technology or tactics That being said, it is clear that Rene respects Genghis Khan and those chapters are the most exhilarating and interesting. It does a great job painting the extend of Genghis’ domain and the unstable nature of the region. I didn’t realize how many civilizations Genghis Khan’s forces either interacted with or conquered. It was also a fascinating look at Persian, Russian, Turkic, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern kingdoms and the development of those regions-regions that are never discussed in American history classes. I also enjoyed the time Rene spent on discussing Batu and Subutai. I was vaguely aware of these two warriors because of Phob’s gorgeous look on Deviantart. I’d recommend checking them out. Rene provides a surprisingly insightful look at Batu’s achievements and his place within Genghis Khan’s kingdom. Again, I didn’t realize that Batu lead the Mongol invasion of Eastern Europe, getting all the way to Hungary nor did I realize how integral he was to deciding who would succeed Genghis after he died. Rene is just as detailed when describing Tamerlane’s conquest, but it is obvious that he is not as impressed with Tamerlane as he was with Genghis Khan. I was also disappointed with how he handled Attila. Attila got a few pages and that was it. Overall, this was an interesting book to read as long as one kept in mind the quaint theories that drive the core of the book. Pros: It provides an in depth and fairly complimentary look at Genghis Khan’s and Tamerlane’s empires. The best part of the book are the chapters dealing with Genghis Khan’s conquests. I found it insightful and it gave me a great understanding of how the region has been shaped by nomadic tribes. In America, I don’t think we understand nomadic lifestyles nor did we give them enough credit in shaping world history. This book gave me the overview of life on the steppe that I was lacking. Cons: It is an old book and so some of the word choices are quaint and the major theories that the book rests on are incorrect or stereotypical. Additionally, the first two chapters of the books are dense, a lot of it has proven incorrect, and hard to get through. I would recommend skipping to the chapters that discuss Genghis Khan as that is the heart of the book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Fred Dameron

    If you are interested in the history of the steppes, or how and why Russia, Iran, China or the rest of the half the world the steppes boarder: this is a good primer, but it is very academic. It is very dry. It covers 2500 miles east to west and a 1000 miles north to south. It covers 2200 years of history, from around 450 B.C.E to 1800 A.D., and the book covers this time and space quick. Lots of really good background for the areas conquered by the Mongols. This background gives one a more in dep If you are interested in the history of the steppes, or how and why Russia, Iran, China or the rest of the half the world the steppes boarder: this is a good primer, but it is very academic. It is very dry. It covers 2500 miles east to west and a 1000 miles north to south. It covers 2200 years of history, from around 450 B.C.E to 1800 A.D., and the book covers this time and space quick. Lots of really good background for the areas conquered by the Mongols. This background gives one a more in depth idea of why certain areas of interest had the history they had. For me those area are Russia and Persia/Iran. Why these peoples have their ideas and how the Mongol invasions shaped those areas history are easier to understand after this read. It is a dry one though.

  10. 4 out of 5

    傑瑞米愛吃糖

    尽管翻译有些地方有瑕疵,但不影响这本写于1939年的著作的极具可读性,上起草原文化的黎明期,下至18世纪晚期的蒙古驻汗国,一部欧亚大陆草原民族的大通史

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nautile

    觉得翻译有点别扭。大概看了前七章,剩下的以后再说吧。

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Neylan

    It's showing its age, but Grousset's work used to be the definitive work on the topic and it still stands as an essential read. It's showing its age, but Grousset's work used to be the definitive work on the topic and it still stands as an essential read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    A huge brick of a book, and one with no photos or drawings, either (though there can be found a map here and there). For a translation and for an older volume written by a well-known scholar of his time as an academic history of this under-researched portion of the world, this book is fairly readable and interesting. In places, to be sure, it will come across to the modern reader as dry or overly academic, however, it remains perhaps the very best one-volume work on its topic and despite more re A huge brick of a book, and one with no photos or drawings, either (though there can be found a map here and there). For a translation and for an older volume written by a well-known scholar of his time as an academic history of this under-researched portion of the world, this book is fairly readable and interesting. In places, to be sure, it will come across to the modern reader as dry or overly academic, however, it remains perhaps the very best one-volume work on its topic and despite more recent research in Central Asian studies, no one can match the overall depth and scope of Grousset's efforts. In places, as was common to writers of the 19th and early 20th century in academic works, Grousset fails to make all his details clear, as when he desribes the artwork of wall-hangings that depict animals engaged in wars and other anthropomorphic tasks, he doesn't quite make clear whether these are in fact animals depicted as warriors or men and only if you know the art history of these objects already, does the whole narrative quite make sense. I am sure in other places in the book where I lacked previous expertise on the topic, I was confused by instances where the author simply did not flesh out his topic as well as he could have, but you've got to also consider the sweeping geographic area, social groups, and time periods covered in this book. Again, whatever it lacks though, it makes up for via its comprehensive and deep insight into a vast region that is unfairly little-known to most Westerners and also lacking from serious English-language historiography . . . even the Russian scholarship of the region in fact is lacking. That said, this book helps the reader formulate a strong basis for further study of Central Asian history.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shankar

    This is a very ambitious and impressive book. I knew little about Central Asian history when I began reading, and I learned a lot in the process. The first section of the book is a pretty slow read. It contains a wealth of information about many different tribes and cultures, so it's very hard to absorb it all. I'm sure I've retained only some small fraction, but even that made it worth my time! The second and third sections of the book form a more coherent narrative because they focus on the Mo This is a very ambitious and impressive book. I knew little about Central Asian history when I began reading, and I learned a lot in the process. The first section of the book is a pretty slow read. It contains a wealth of information about many different tribes and cultures, so it's very hard to absorb it all. I'm sure I've retained only some small fraction, but even that made it worth my time! The second and third sections of the book form a more coherent narrative because they focus on the Mongol Empire. This makes them somewhat less difficult to read, but I still wouldn't call them easy. Incidentally, the author seems to be a bigger fan of Genghis Khan than most people.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ray Wei

    Except two kinds of problems it is an impressive book. First, some problems are on knowledge related.For example, Zhu Huang, the Chinese king in 907 was not Kok Turk authors gave. Maybe the reason is he want to improve the continuity. Second, Huns as recent opinion are supposed to be unrelated to Hunnu. This kind of problem is lead by time, as this book is wrote in 80 years ago. Anyway, the problems never block it to be a great book that have ability to draw a picture of Steppes.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Morrow

    Sweeping political history of Central Asia. Must have bought it 15 years ago and through starts and stops, I finally just started over and read it cover to cover. At times the minutiae leaves one wading into small bits of history one never really cared about. His work on Jenghiz Khan and the Yuan dyansty - alone - make the work worth the read. But be prepared for some lost chapters as your eyes glaze over court revolutions in secondary dynasties.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Roar

    A book I almost finished some years ago when I was living in Nukus, Karakalpakstan. This heavy brick of a book (ca 550 pages) by one of the great authorities on Central Asian history was first published in 1939. It is very thorough, but maybe not the ideal first introduction to the topic. I hope to read also the remaining ca 70 pages sometime in the future.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Keeko

    This is the first book I read about Central Asia, and I like it so much that I read it a second time to take notes. It has a tremendous amount of information, but the writing is vivid and kept me turning the pages. It's easy to find the cities and maps of the areas online. This book made me want to read more, and it has been a good base for subsequent books I've read. This is the first book I read about Central Asia, and I like it so much that I read it a second time to take notes. It has a tremendous amount of information, but the writing is vivid and kept me turning the pages. It's easy to find the cities and maps of the areas online. This book made me want to read more, and it has been a good base for subsequent books I've read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eric Lindberg

    As others have said, this is a thorough account of Central Asian history to the eighteenth century. Some of the concepts are a little outdated, but there really hasn't been anything of this calibre to replace it. As others have said, this is a thorough account of Central Asian history to the eighteenth century. Some of the concepts are a little outdated, but there really hasn't been anything of this calibre to replace it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    Well written, but a bit like trying to take a drink of water from a fire hose in the sheer amount of information presented, particularly when one has little or no background in the history of the region.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Allen

    Huge in scope, it took me 4 years to read this book. I was working regularly in Central Asia at that time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    This is an excellent, but very comprehensive history. It will be permanently on my shelves because it is so detailed.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tao

    A classic work on the history of Central Asia. Very well researched. The best work on the topic.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christian Jenson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A useful, if dated, look at the Central Asian steppe cultures.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Azeem Ali

    Incredibly detailed, this book covers even the most obscure Central Asia empire

  26. 4 out of 5

    D

    Страхотна книга, която освен очевидно подразбиращото се от заглавието дава и интересна чужда гледна точка за древните българи и връзката им с някои съвременни народи.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Aiglon

    Interested by asian history

  28. 5 out of 5

    Willowwind

    Currently reading

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stosch

  30. 4 out of 5

    joyce

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.