Attila and the Nomad Hordes (Elite) Paperback – 27 Sep 1990
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About the Author
David Nicolle was born in 1944 and worked for the BBC, including the overseas broadcasting service before returning to university, obtaining his PhD in Edinburgh. He subsequently taught at Yarmouk University in Jordan, since which he has contributed a substantial number of Osprey titles. He is a specialist in medieval arms and armour and has written several books as well as numerous articles for specialist journals.
Angus McBride is one of the world's most respected historical illustrators, and has contributed to more than 70 Osprey titles in the past three decades. Born in 1931 of Highland parents but orphaned as a child, he was educated at Canterbury Cathedral Choir School. He worked in advertising agencies from 1947, and after national service, emigrated to South Africa. He now lives and works in Cape Town.
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Instead this book acts as a short introduction to the Nomad warriors of Central Asia and the Eurasian steppe, from the Kashtyk and Kushans, to the Toba, Avars, Bulgars, Turks, Uighurs, Khazars, Khirgiz, Pechenegs and Finno-Ugrians. A hugely diverse group of people.
The book covers the various waves of these invaders and settlers, starting with the Kushans and Huns in the 4-5th centuries, all the way up to the 13th century Volga Bulgarians and Kipchaq peoples of the Western Steppe.
Dr. David Nicolle, an expert on Medieval Warfare, provides an insight to the equipment, weapons, horses, transport and fortifications of these peoples, as well as describing their movements across the steppes, which he covers in four different waves. His writing is clear, altough it does tend to get dry in parts.
Angus McBride provides some colourful and beautifully illustrated colour plates, which help bring these long dead warriors back to life. These help compliment the text. Various photographs, maps and line drawings are included, which make this a wonderful introduction to the world of the warriors of the steppe.
A good book, but anyone looking for information on Attila the Hun should look elsewhere.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
As expert as author Nicolle is I think the subject he took on has too wide and deep a scope to be covered in a 64 page pamphlet. Geographically speaking, he sketches cultures from Mongolia, through Central Asia and well into Europe. Temporally he attempts to compress into a few densely packed pages a millennium of migration, invasion and discord, an impossible task.
We are treated to introductions to a host of peoples and tribes, sometimes with only a sentence or two of text, sometimes with several pages. There are too many to cope with and too lightly sketched. We want to know more about the Onogurs or the Gur Turks for instance. More famous peoples like the Alans or the Magars, the Huns or the Pechenegs we encounter briefly and then we move on. The book might usefully been more limited in scope but deeper in developing a few individual cultures over a shorted time span.
But this is a tightly packed information horde. Frequent illustrations taken from a variety of original sources show us details of the arms, armor, horse tack and costumes of a bewildering range of peoples. McBride's drawings hold up to his usual very high standard. McBride provides 36 separate images of nearly as many tribes, nations and peoples. This does not exhaust the peoples touched upon by Nicolle in his text.
Am I saying Nicolle give us too much? Not exactly, rather his gift is too little of too many. A more focused work or several of them would be more useful.
But as an exercise in scholarship this is magnificent. Now I have a dozen new cultures to delve into after reading this fact packed introduction.
If titled just "Nomad Hordes", this would be a 4 or 5 stars, because it is very informative (considering the space limitations), fun to read, and the colour plates are McBride at his best.
Buy it if you want to have a general idea about Turco-Mongol, Khazar, Pecheneg and other horse peoples of the steppe; it's worth the price.