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Christoph Baumer - a leading explorer and historian of Central Asia, Tibet and China - has written several well-received books in the fields of history, religion, archaeology and travel. These include The Church of the East: An Illustrated History of Assyrian Christianity, Traces in the Desert: Journeys of Discovery across Central Asia and China's Holy Mountain: An Illustrated Journey into the Heart of Buddhism, all published by I.B.Tauris. His magisterial four-volume study of Central Asia began in 2012 with volume 1, The History of Central Asia: The Age of the Steppe Warriors, and continued in 2014 with volume 2, The Age of the Silk Roads. The final volume will publish in 2018.
`This lavishly illustrated book provides a most welcome overview of an often overlooked region during a still more neglected period of history. Addressing the rise of the independent Iranian states that had begun to throw off the Arab stranglehold which descended upon the whole region in the seventh century, Christoph Baumer charts the re-emergence of the Persians and establishment of those Iranian dynastic regimes that succeeded in distancing themselves from the Abbasid caliphs and expanded to the east. He shows how dynasties like the Samanids were able to re-invigorate Persian culture while at the same time allowing the rise and integration of the Ghaznavids, Saljuqs and Khitans: Turkish hordes from Turan. He then turns expertly to the Mongols as they swept across Transoxiana and the Iranian plateau from the Eurasian steppe lands. This is a hugely ambitious project but Baumer has succeeded in presenting a magnificent vision of medieval Turkestan, combining concise and comprehensive narrative with gorgeous, often startling but always captivating and vivid images. This a remarkable book which maintains the exemplary standards which have earned the author his fully deserved reputation.' - George Lane, Senior Teaching Fellow in the History of the Middle East and Central Asia, SOAS, University of London, author of Early Mongol Rule in Thirteenth-Century Iran (2003), Genghis Khan and Mongol Rule (2004), Daily Life in the Mongol Empire (2009) and A Short History of the Mongol Empire (I.B.Tauris, forthcoming)