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The alternative to the well-told narrative of human civilisation is the compelling story of wanderers, of tribes who lived beyond imperial borders, and who created their own kingdoms and empires: Scythian, Xiongnu and Persian, Hun and Arab, Mongul, Mughal, Ottoman and others.

Humans have been on the move for most of history. Even after the great urban advancement lured people into the great cities of Uruk, Babylon, Rome and Chang’an, most of us continued to live lightly on the move and outside the pages of history. But recent discoveries have revealed another story . . .

Wandering people built the first great stone monuments, such as the one at Göbekli Tepe, seven thousand years before the pyramids. They tamed the horse, fashioned the composite bow, fought with the Greeks and hastened the end of the Roman Empire. They had a love of poetry and storytelling, a fascination for artistry and science, and a respect for the natural world rooted in reliance and their belief. Embracing multiculturalism, tolerant of other religions, their need for free movement and open markets brought a glorious cultural flourishing to Eurasia, enabling the Renaissance and changing the human story.

Nomads traces the path of wanderers across twelve thousand years, from before Cain and Abel to the modern day. With both nomads and the natural world on which they rely facing extinction, Anthony Sattin uncovers a string of their extraordinary and little-known stories and asks what we can learn from them and what we will lose without them. Reconnecting with our deepest mythology, our unrecorded antiquity and our natural environment, Nomads is the ground-breaking alternative history of civilisation, told through its outsiders.

Reviews

A fabulous piece of evocative writing, mixing personal stories with an epic sweep of history, the unique insight of location and an intimate connection to the subject. I loved it
Jerry Brotton, author of A History of the World in Twelve Maps
I was riveted by the shifts to nomadic culture, Sapiens-like, and by the feeling of learning lightly worn and deftly-transmitted. This is a major book
Roland Philipps, author of A Spy Named Orphan
I was riveted by the shifts to nomadic culture, Sapiens-like, and by the feeling of learning lightly worn and deftly-transmitted. This is a major book
Roland Philipps, author of A Spy Named Orphan
An ambitious blend of history, memoir and current affairs - Koram's superb and combative account shows how Britain's near-past can explain its present predicament. A fascinating account of the British Empire written with an exciting blend of passion and scholarship
David Dabydeen