Anthony SattinSep 26, 2022
The Wanderers Who Shaped Our World
W. W. Norton & Company 2022
Nomads: The Wanderers Who Shaped Our World (W. W. Norton & Company, 2022) by Anthony Sattin tells the remarkable story of how nomads have fostered and refreshed civilization throughout history. Moving across millennia, Nomads explores the transformative, sometimes bloody, sometimes peaceful and symbiotic relationship between settled and mobile societies. Often overlooked in history, the story of the umbilical connections between these two ways of living generates 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, this sweeping history charts the power of nomadism from before the Bible to its seeming 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.
Maggie Freeman is a PhD student in the School of Architecture at MIT. Her work focuses on histories of nomad-state relationships and uses of architecture in nomadic contexts, with a focus on the Middle East.