Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In Search of the Indo-Europeans” as Want to Read:
In Search of the Indo-Europeans
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

In Search of the Indo-Europeans

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  571 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
An archaeological and linguistic monograph on the origins and expansion of the Indo-European
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 1st 1991 by Thames & Hudson (first published January 1st 1989)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Feb 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indo-european
This is the third time that I read this book since I bought it last year. Every time I read it I discover something new. Its an amazing book for anyone interested in the Indo-Europeans.

The book is written from the point of view of an archeologist who has knowledge of historical linguistic methods. For dating the author uses dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating. He tells the story of how the Indo-Europeans where discovered, and then takes you on a journey to find out who are they in Asia, and
Generally speaking, I don't read toward any purpose, I read just to read. But now and again I read to learn something. When I do, though, I very rarely read a book cover-to-cover, but rather flip around gathering bits like an unsystematic magpie. I have books I've owned for decades, on topics I'm fascinated by, which I've probably not read the majority of, and certainly have never read in sequence, or even thought about doing so. But for whatever reason, I did read this book front to back. I tri ...more
Aug 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
While superseded to some degree by David W. Anthony’s The Horse, the Wheel and Language, J.P. Mallory’s In Search of the Indo-Europeans is fine reading for those interested in the people who spoke the ancestor of most tongues of Europe and western Asia. While scholars have carefully reconstructed a proto-language, the identity of its speakers and their geographical origin remain a mystery, and J.P. Mallory shows what is currently thought in the field.

Mallory begins by tracing the historical deve
Lee Drake
Feb 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
This wasn't the greatest book in the world. Mallory basically argues through holes in Indo-European theories. While it ties together archaeological and linguistic evidence, it is ultimately unsatisfying and doesn't really take a strong stance on when, where, and how all these languages spread.
Nov 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Sometimes interesting treatment of the people whose language is now spoken in all its derivatives by some two billion people, from India and Iran to the Americas. Horsemen, herders, pastoral nomads, poets, the Indo-Europeans came out of the mists of history and named the world.
This book (an essential resource in the field) excels for its breadth of coverage, and its scholarly caution: the major theories are given attention, and even where the author favors one solution as more likely than another, adequate space is always given to counter-arguments which have been proposed for a given issue.(Were the Indo-Europeans ultimately, via the migrating Indo-Aryans, ultimately responsible for the introduction of the horse-drawn chariot to the Near East; how does Dumezil's theo ...more
To be honest, I didn't actually read this book all the way through--I kinda skimmed it and studied the charts and photos. Fascinating stuff, though, and I may read it more completely at a later date. It seems a rather scholarly work, a little dry perhaps, unless you're really into archeology and historical linguistics.
Matthew Young
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Linguistic approach, good introduction to the topic. I would have liked genetics to have played a bigger role in Mallory's analysis, and it is becoming old, given the rapid evolution of its field.
Chris Godwin
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Chris by: ADF
I really enjoyed this work by J.P. Mallory which is an important read for those who are looking to know more about the cultures of their ancestors. Mallory initially enumerates the various IE cultures starting from Asia and ending with the Celts.

I really enjoyed his understanding of the PIE religion relating to the horse and cattle raiding. I found the parts about the stone axes and PIE burials very fascinating. When Mallory tested the Georges Dumezil’s Tripartite theory I began to see the vario
Jun 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read for ADF dedicant path.

Mostly archeology, some language, very little myth.

Lots of descriptions of what kinds if pots where buried where and when with lots if caveats about how, without written records, it's guesswork to match material cultures with reconstructed languages anyway. So, no firm answers.

I was mostly interested in the reconstructed mythology, but it was a very short chapter, most of which seemed to be spent criticizing Dumezil's three functions hypothesis.

I was hoping for a mor
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
it is always fun and informative to read about the problems faced in different science fields and solutions of those problems.

I had very little knowledge in reconstruction of cultures based on linguistical and archeological findings and very little idea of the problems archeologists and linguists face. I think the most satisfactory aspect of this book is not that it gives a brief summary of Indo-European studies but it does that with proper science ethics. besides drawing a good picture of this
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"A very good introduction to an ancestral tongue"

Mallory employs linguistics and archeology to support the idea that several dozen modern and extinct languages descended from an Indo-European ancestral "tongue" (a reconstructed tongue).

The book is well documented, exhaustive, consistent: for every language or language branch, you will find a sample text and a map.
Non-indoeuropean languages / language groups are also introduced when relevant (for instance Kartvelian or North Picene).

I warmly sugg
May 31, 2013 rated it liked it
I hated to rate it a 3 but it was tough sledding all the nowhere. It was like reading a scientific review article, which I guess is what it really was. Everything that was known or believed about the original centre of the Proto Indo European language homeland to about 25 years ago was included. Every side of every argument. On and on and on no conclusion. It would be interesting to read a revised version which has the last 25 years included in it. At least now I can give i ...more
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a really fabulous book that seeks to discover who the Indo Europeans were and where they settled. I particularly liked it because it did not make leaps. The authors are honest about what is and isn't known. It was assigned reading for a class at the Oriental Institute of Chicago, which is the premier place for scholarly research of the near east. It's a great book!
Fairly well done for what it is: a relatively recent synthesis of the IE theories that are still acceptable to mainstream anthropologists. Read also Tilak's Arctic Home in the Vedas, Haudry's The Indo-Europeans, and Evola's Revolt Against the Modern World for fascinating insights on the facts in this book.
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, favorites
Fascinating overview of linguistic and archaeological evidence for who the Indo-Europeans were and where they came from. Raises more questions than it answers, but it seems safe to say we don't have all the answers - made me want to move to Ukraine and start digging. Yes, it's a bit dry, but I like dry.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, nonfiction
A sweeping overview of linguistic and archaeological evidence for the homeland of the indo-European language family. This is definitely a scholarly and academic work, and may be somewhat inaccessible to those without such a background.
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Almost entirely a linguistic trek through Indo-European culture, mostly handling the homeworld problem, but describing some of the burial customs and horse rituals.
Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it
An interesting exploration of the Indo-European origins and culture. A little bogged down by the linguistic archeology, but interesting none the less.
Dec 13, 2012 marked it as to-read
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Because of its easy approach to the subject, I never felt bogged down by the drabness of the topic at hand. Makes me wish I had studied linguistics a bit more at university.
Mar 06, 2009 marked it as to-read
Mpls Central Library has this: P525.M35 1989
Sep 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Thought it was interesting, but maybe not bed time reading!
Jul 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mythology, archeology
While I did really like this book for the information it gave, it was slow going to get through it all, and I just wish Mallory had a little less dense writing style.
Not the lightest read as a lot of the content is the author arguing various points without framing the argument too well first. Has a lot of interesting points, though.
Spencer Clevenger
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great scholarship on a linguistic group. As a lover of Greek history, this book greatly expanded my knowledge.
Luis Elias
rated it it was amazing
Feb 23, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Aug 25, 2012
Ver Delivres
rated it really liked it
Aug 23, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Sep 15, 2017
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World
  • Archaeology and Language: The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins
  • The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
  • Indo-European Poetry and Myth
  • Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales
  • Pagan Celtic Britain
  • The Origin of Language: Tracing the Evolution of the Mother Tongue
  • The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future
  • Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts
  • Comparative Mythology
  • A History of Pagan Europe
  • The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy
  • Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions
  • The Penguin Atlas of Ancient History
  • Europe Between the Oceans: 9000 BC-AD 1000
  • The Celtic Heroic Age
  • The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe Ca. 1200 B.C., Third Edition
  • The Druids
James Patrick Mallory is an Irish-American archaeologist and Indo-Europeanist. Mallory is a professor at the Queen's University, Belfast.

Born in 1945, Mallory received his A.B. in History from Occidental College in California in 1967, then served three years in the US Army as a military police sergeant. He received his Ph.D. in Indo-European studies from UCLA in 1975. He has held several posts at
More about J.P. Mallory

Nonfiction Deals

  • Hope and Other Luxuries: A Mother's Life with a Daughter's Anorexia
    $19.99 $2.99
  • Manic: A Memoir
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures
    $19.99 $1.99
  • Without a Doubt
    $5.99 $2.49
  • The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Paris Letters
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm
    $13.74 $1.99
  • My Cross to Bear
    $11.24 $1.99
  • The Warrior Ethos
    $6.99 $1.99
  • A Chance in this world
    $5.99 $0.99
  • It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Everyday Zen
    $11.24 $1.99
  • In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Somebody Else's Kids
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Maude
    $2.99 $1.49
  • Here Is Where: Discovering America's Great Forgotten History
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Revised Edition)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Rational Optimist (P.S.)
    $14.49 $2.99
  • Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Of Wolves and Men (Scribner Classics)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • God: A Story of Revelation
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book
    $10.95 $1.99
  • The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words, 1000 BC - 1492 AD
    $13.99 $2.99
  • I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed
    $9.99 $2.99
  • I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Imaginary Girlfriend
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Things I've Been Silent About
    $4.99 $1.99
  • GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love
    $8.49 $2.99
  • The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dharma Punx: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
    $10.99 $1.99