We live in a globalized world, but mobility is nothing new. Barry Cunliffe tells the story of how humans first started building the globalized world we know today. Set on a huge continental stage, from Europe to China, it covers over 10,000 years, from the origins of farming around 9000 BC to the expansion of the Mongols in the thirteenth century AD.
An unashamedly "big history" based on the latest archaeological evidence, By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean charts nothing less than the growth of European, Near Eastern, and Chinese civilizations. It is the story of the "connective tissue" through which people, trade, and ideas flowed between these civilizations over the course of ten millennia - the Indian Ocean, the Silk Roads, and the great steppe corridor. Along the way, it is also the chronicle of the rise and fall of empires, the development of maritime trade, and the shattering impact of predatory nomads on their urban neighbors.
Above all, as this immense historical panorama unfolds, we begin to see in clearer focus those basic underlying factors - the acquisitive nature of humanity, the differing environments in which people live, and the dislocating effect of even slight climatic variation - that have driven change throughout the ages and help us better understand our world today.