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The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia
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The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  26 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 718 pages
Published January 1st 1970 by Rutgers University Press (first published 1939)
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The Great Game by Peter HopkirkThree Cups of Tea by Greg MortensonGenghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack WeatherfordThe Places in Between by Rory StewartThe Empire of the Steppes by René Grousset
Central Asia
209 books — 58 voters
The Horse, the Wheel, and Language by David W. AnthonyThe Silent Steppe by Mukhamet ShayakhmetovEmpires of the Silk Road by Christopher I. BeckwithApples Are from Kazakhstan by Christopher RobbinsThe Empire of the Steppes by René Grousset
Great Steppe.
105 books — 14 voters

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 ·  245 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Czarny Pies
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: asian-history
This is a great synthesis work on the history of Central Asia that may never be superseded because of the challenges in learning all the necessary languages.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
Bryn Hammond
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Kübra  Yağmur Aslanhan
Osmanlı İmparatorluğu Tarihi Ek Okuması #2

ÖSYM ile ringe çıkacakmış gibi hissediyorum kendimi.
İstekleri kadar tarih sorabilirler.
Mehmet Koç
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 08, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Fred Dameron
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Patrick Neylan
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Feb 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Ray Wei
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Jesse Morrow
Jan 01, 2016 rated it liked it
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.
Jun 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Eric Lindberg
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked 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.
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.
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Huge in scope, it took me 4 years to read this book. I was working regularly in Central Asia at that time.
This is an excellent, but very comprehensive history. It will be permanently on my shelves because it is so detailed.
Mar 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A classic work on the history of Central Asia. Very well researched. The best work on the topic.
Christian Jenson
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Azeem Ali
Incredibly detailed, this book covers even the most obscure Central Asia empire
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.
Daniel Aiglon
Interested by asian history
Nov 08, 2010 is currently reading it
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René Grousset (September 5, 1885 – September 12, 1952) was a French historian specializing in Asiatic and Oriental history.
He was born in Aubais, Gard in 1885.

Having graduated from the University of Montpellier with a degree in history he began his distinguished career in the French Ministry of Fine Arts soon afterward. He served in the French army during World War I. In 1925 Grousset was appointe