For more than a hundred years, Central Asia was the heartland of the mightiest military power on the planet. But after the fragmentation of the all-conquering Mongol polity, the region began a steep decline which rendered this former domain of horse lords peripheral to world affairs. The process of deterioration reached its nadir in the second half of the nineteenth century, when the former territories and sweeping steppes of the great khans were overrun by Tsarist Russia. In the concluding volume of his acclaimed Central Asia quartet, Christoph Baumer shows how China in the east, and Russia in the northwest, succeeded in throwing off the Mongol yoke to become the masters of their own previous rulers. He suggests that, as traditional transcontinental trade routes declined in importance, it was the 'Great Game' - or cold war between Imperial Russia and Great Britain - which finally brought Central Asia back into play as a region of strategic importance. This epic history concludes with an assessment of the transition to modern independence of the Central Asian states and their struggle to contain radical Islamism.
About the Author
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 (2006, 2016), Traces in the Desert: Journeys of Discovery across Central Asia (2008) and China's Holy Mountain: An Illustrated Journey into the Heart of Buddhism (2011), all published by I.B.Tauris. He is President of the Society for the Exploration of EurAsia and is a member of the Explorers' Club, New York, and of the Royal Asiatic Society, the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, London. Dr Baumer was the recipient in 2015 of the prestigious Sir Percy Sykes Medal, awarded to him by the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. The first three volumes of his magisterial four-volume history of Central Asia were released by I.B.Tauris, to much acclaim, in 2012, 2014 and 2016.