“Sattin is a terrific storyteller.” —David Farley, New York Times
The remarkable story of how nomads have fostered and refreshed civilization throughout our history.
Moving across millennia, Nomads explores the transformative and often bloody relationship between settled and mobile societies. Often overlooked in history, the story of the umbilical connections between these two very different ways of living presents a radical new view of human civilization. From the Neolithic revolution to the twenty-first century via the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the great nomadic empires of the Arabs and Mongols, the Mughals and the development of the Silk Road, nomads have been a perpetual counterbalance to the empires created by the power of human cities.
Exploring the evolutionary biology and psychology of restlessness that makes us human, Anthony Sattin’s sweeping history charts the power of nomadism from before the Bible to its decline in the present day. Connecting us to mythology and the records of antiquity, Nomads explains why we leave home, and why we like to return again. This is the history of civilization as told through its outsiders.
About the Author
Anthony Sattin is the author of The Gates of Africa, The Young T. E. Lawrence, A Winter on the Nile, and other acclaimed books of history and travel. His journalism has appeared in publications around the world. He lives in London, England.
A book of beauty and beguiling rhythm.
Nomads delivers good stories.
— Adam Kuper - Wall Street Journal
Triumphantly tells the story of another way of living.
— Hugh Thomson - Spectator
Nomads is a thoughtful, lyrical, yet ambitiously panoramic study of what Anthony Sattin calls ‘our wandering other half.’ As fleet and light-footed as its subject, it takes us along a dizzying path, over many of the highest ridges of human history, looking down from the time when we were all nomads, and a world without walls or borders, to the divided, fractured, and hobbled world of today. It is an important, generous, and beautifully written book.
— William Dalrymple, author of The Anarchy
A sweeping history of nomadism from prehistory to the modern age.… Not only readable but also vital.
— Bijan Omrani - Literary Review
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 12 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
A spirited defense of freedom of conscience, freedom of movement and migration, a romantic tribute to independence and to free spirit, and to being in tune with the rhythms of nature.
— Marc David Baer, author of The Ottomans
Anthony Sattin’s Nomads spreads before us a sweeping panorama of nomadism that resonates through the past and echoes poignantly even in the present.
— Colin Thubron
Brimming with literary, historical, and anthropological references…. A treat for any thoughtful traveler, armchair or otherwise.
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)