88 of 93 people found the following review helpful
Good in many respects, but it's not quite what it claims to be,
This review is from: The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World (Hardcover)
Contrary to its subtitle, the book does not explain "How bronze-age riders from the Eurasian steppes shaped the modern world" unless your idea of the modern world is the Late Bronze Age, circa 1200 BC, which is roughly where the book ends.
"Shaping the modern world" is largely limited to asserting that the occupants of the steppes spoke a Proto-Indo-European language and that subsequent speakers of Indo-European languages, like English, Latin, Russian and Hindi, have shaped the modern world. Also, they probably domesticated the horse. The book is definitely not a sweeping analysis of influences from the late Neolithic or Bronze Age to the present day.
What it is, as other reviewers have pointed out, is really two works in one--an introduction to Indo-European historical linguistics and also a review of archaeology in southern Russia from the Neolithic through the Late Bronze Age. Naturally, the link is that the theorized homeland of the Proto-Indo-European speakers is the steppes of southern Russia between the Black and Caspian Seas, the Pontic-Caspian steppes.
Like most reviewers, I think it does cover its two main topics well, and it makes a plausible case for the location of the homeland. Although trained as an archaeologist, Anthony provides a readable account of the development of early Indo-European languages and their theorized source, Proto-Indo-European. That is the first quarter of the book. The remainder is devoted to a detailed survey of current archaeological knowledge of the Neolithic and Bronze Ages in the Pontic-Caspian steppes and surrounding areas. It's pretty dense reading at times. On the other hand, the numerous illustrations of grave goods offer a fascinating progression from simple tools and fetishes to later ornate gold statues and bronze spear points.
Although I read a library copy, I just might buy the book for the first few chapters on Indo-European historical linguistics, but I am disappointed that the subtitle is misleading.