Mongols, Huns & Vikings - Hugh Kennedy This should actually be titled "Mongols, Huns, Arabs, Turks & Vikings". To be even more accurate, it should be titled "Random Dudes in History Who Were Like Totally Badass, Fuck Yeah".

I'm not quite sure who this books is meant for. It almost (but not quite) a children's book, with nice, simply told stories about said invasions - theres really more information on the Wikipedia page - and told in a rather romantic way. Much "...as they were driven by the iron bonds of the camaraderie of the fighting men..." or "...being the embodiment of the lone horseman, alone, in the desert, with only his camel..." (really.) There is much recounting of stories and anecdotes then admitted, "sadly", to be untrue. (Including Viking horned helmets,) thought the focus is more on military tactics, organization and technology, and less on historical narrative.

It's also very lavishly and pretty randomly illustrated. Pretty landscape photos of Russian snow, Mongolia grass, Arabian sand, etc. Attila the Hun looking hideous on a 19th c. German meat-extract advertisement. Attila the Hun looking like a total cutie in some 18th C. portrait. Clunky 3D diagrams of various battles. Maps with lots and lots of arrows. Pictures of rusty swords, ruined castles, old armour. Treasure troves, longships, horses, camels, elephants and a cheetah. Diagrams of composite bows and trebuchets. What more do you need, really?

Theres some kind of thesis about the exceptionality of nomadism, or something, but really exists for about four sentences in the pro- and epilogue. At first I wasn't really sure why I was reading this, but then I realized that it was really speaking to that piece of my soul which is a gleefully savage grubby twelve year old boy who would really like to be falling out of trees and getting into fights and breaking things and setting them on fire just to see what would happen, and if you have no such corner in your soul, then I can't help you. By the time I was done, I was only sorry there was no chapter on Ninjas, and possibly cowboys.