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BOOK REVIEW: Monguls, Huns & Vikings

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Thursday, August 15, 2019

Another from the MagWeb vault...

BOOK REVIEW: Monguls, Huns & Vikings

by Hugh Kennedy

The title should include "Arabs" and "Turks" as they make up one-third of the book, although the title would be too long. The theme running through the book centers on the rise and fall of the nomadic empires. They combined mobility, firepower, and ruthlessness to defeat "civilized" armies, but ultimately, could not offer the stability for technological prowess. The rise of gunpowder doomed them, and they fractured, faded away, or were forced to submit to other empires.

Kennedy offers a broad overview of each of these nomadic peoples, which is a good introduction. Obviously, it pales before a book about one of the peoples. For example, The Devils Horsemen (about Mongols) goes into far more depth than the portion of Monguls, Huns & Vikings devotes to Mongols. The two pair up fact-wise, but single topic books will usually carry more info then compilations. The illustrations are excellent and complement the text.

Like all books in the Cassell History of Warfare Series, you can't go wrong with a broad overview for an introduction to Monguls, Huns, Vikings, Arabs, and Turks.

Tags:  Dark Ages  Medieval 

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BOOK REVIEW: The Devil's Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Thursday, August 15, 2019
Another from the MagWeb vault...

BOOK REVIEW: The Devil's Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe

By James Chambers

This reprint of the 1979 book offers an illuminating look at the Mongol warfare of Genghis Khan as it swept from East to West. On Christmas Day, 1241, a portion of the horde crossed the Danube and headed towards the balkanized kingdoms of Western Europe. Had it not been for the death of the great Khan, it's possible the horde would have reached the Atlantic Ocean. After all, few Kingdoms had resisted a first attack and none had survived a second.

Chambers weaves an impressive tale of power and prowess as he traces the Mongol conquest of Asia and eastern Europe. The army had perfected encirclement tactics on the steppes, and used conquered engineers and specialists for sieges. The more they conquered, the stronger they became. Simultaneously with the attack into Europe came an attack into the Middle East--fascinating examination since so little is known about the campaign in the West.

However, the Mongol empire, like those before it, suffered the fatal flaw of infighting, and the once coordinated movements devolved into individual power ploys. Twin losses at Ain Jalut and Hims ended Mongol advances in the Middle East, while weather and internecine warfare halted the European invasion in Transylvania and Poland.

Chambers offers an excellent book about a little known subject.

Tags:  Dark Ages  Medieval 

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Book Review: A History of Asia - Volume I: Formation of Civilizations from Antiquity to 1600

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Tuesday, May 21, 2019
by Woodbridge Bingham, Hilary Conroy, and Frank W Ikle.

This 1964 book is rather dull in style, but contains a good overview of areas and empires within Asia within the time period. I only got about halfway through, so I can't say I enjoyed it, but if you needed a quick hit of information by the three professors, you can't go wrong.

Tags:  Ancient  Asia-Pacific  Dark Ages  Medieval  Renaissance 

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