Bryn Hammond's Reviews > The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World

The Horse, the Wheel, and Language by David W. Anthony
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it was amazing
bookshelves: steppe-history, website-widget

I haven't felt equipped to review this -- at least until I get to that 2nd reading. A shame not to say that I thought it fantastic, though. A couple of notes:

I am a non-linguist (severely, I think) and can find language discussion in Indo-European books scary. Here I didn't, and besides there isn't over-much of it.

Its section on frontiers -- frontier theory and how frontiers work -- was enlightening for me, even outside the scope of this book. I think I met Frontier Studies here.

If I was bored, ever, it was very briefly (and certainly about language). I was absorbed for much the most of it, and can report states of excitement. It's a great book on the subject: I trusted the author and he spoke to my interests, so rather than try the uncertain waters of what else is written, I'll anchor here and study this one.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
December 22, 2011 – Shelved
December 23, 2011 – Shelved as: steppe-history
October 26, 2012 – Shelved as: website-widget

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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A.J. Campbell This is a wonderful reasessment of the origins of horseback riding, steppe tech, and the diffusion of Proto-Indo-European into languages now used across 75% of the globe. Dr. Anthony has used previously unaccessable Russian research plus his own, especially bitt-wear on horse teeth. We discover great tidbits, like the high incidence of fish in a steppe person's diet. Overall, the book is perhaps the finest contribution on early steppe cultures since the observations of J.P. Mallory and Marija Gimbutas.

The illustrations are clear and follow the text (more or less); and although we get the mandatory pottery for relativity, I would have enjoyed viewing a few more Bronze Age steppe weapons (but that's just my personal quirk). This is not a book for the casual reader-- thorough, long, explicit-- but it's not overly academic and flows nicely. I agree with Bryn-- this is a five-star piece of work:0


Bryn Hammond AJ, I have a quirk for steppe weapons too. Sorry, that was an uncalled-for comment of no intellectual value.

I found Chapter Six, on frontier theory and how frontiers work, very very useful. I even followed it - he writes clearly; too much social-theory jargon baffles me. I saw I hadn't understood frontiers before, and this told me the latest, sensibly. I enjoyed the whole and learnt a heap - learnt too much for one go; it's on my list to read again.


message 3: by A.J. (last edited Feb 05, 2012 02:32AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.J. Campbell Bryn, it's a lot of book. I digest it slowly with pasta and a glass of Valpolicella. I follow Anthony's cronology, from Sintashta (the IE wellspring) to the Altai and across to the Takla Makan and Gansu Corridor, and then the Margiana-Bactria complex. This sets the stage for the iron age and the people recorded as the Saka, the Wusun, and Yueqi. Over all, he did a fine job, just a little more than anyone needs at 10 sittings. This is a contrast to buying a book that never quite feeds you what you're actually looking for. And there a bunch of those out there.


message 4: by Steve (new)

Steve Evans Bryn you keep slipping books onto my "to read" list with your reviews. This is not at all a bad thing as so far it means I will have to live till 115 even to have a hope of getting through them all. And of course I plan to savour each and every word.

So thanks.

Hope you are enjoying life at the seaside and that your Christmas and New Year are all you would like them to be.


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