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The Modern Uzbeks: From the Fourteenth Century to the Present: A Cultural History (Studies of Nationalities) 1st Edition
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Accordingly, I give a qualified recommendation for the book. If you have advanced background in Central Asia, and preferably some knowledge of Russian and/or Uzbek, the author's command of his sources is extremely useful. I found his approach to literary sources and intellectual movements as evidence of group identity fascinating and enlightening. Although the material is out of date (it was published in 1990, before the independence of modern Uzbekistan), it has proven prescient in its discussion of charismatic strongmen as a rallying-point for social identification -- for better or for worse. My primary complaint with the scholarship is that too many of the author's assertions that should have been foot-noted are not, making his conclusions untestable. And as Central Asia opens up in the wake of the Soviet collapse, increased access to sources will probably undermine some of Allworth's data.
For a beginner, the book is probably worthless, and possibly unfinishable. The writing is not elegant or easy. The author assumes too much familiarity with historical figures, and with archaic geographical terms (like Bactria, Sogdiana and the Qipchaq plains) which are not defined and which do not appear on modern maps. An undergraduate-level student will find the sources, very few of which are in English, almost totally worthless.Read more ›