Warriors of the Steppe: A Military History of Central Asia 500 B.C. to 1700 A.D.
By Erik Hildinger, 1997.
“The steppe forms the heart of Eurasia, comprising land along the borders of China, all of Central Asia, the Ukraine and the area surrounding the Black Sea to north Afghanistan. Its westernmost outcrop is the Hungarian plain. Modern regions with all are part of their territory in the steppe are China, Inner Mongolia, Outer Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkestan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Afganistan, Ukraine and Hungary. The steppe is thus a vast place and, accordingly, not uniform in feature. It is not, for example, one vast sea of grass, although there are such places. There are mountainous areas, deserts such as Gobi, and a forbidding subarctic forest belt, the taiga. Climate is severe, even in the better areas which are generally found in the West. In the central belt of the steppe-the land of the Turks and Mongols-temperatures may vary between winter and summer by 80 degrees centigrade; it is a climate for the hardy and it has historically been the home of the nomad.”
A very readable yet careful account of the repeated waves of mounted Asian horseback archers who swept across the great plains of Asia into Eastern Europe. Follow the hoof beats of the Scythians, Huns, Avars, Magyars, Mongols, and many others. The unique importance of the horse culture and the composite bow receive much attention. Great read to get the ancient background and culture behind the modern mounted archery discipline.
DeCapo Press, paper, some nice black and white illustrations, 260 pages.