Nicholas Morton, "The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East" (Basic Books, 2022)

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For centuries, the Crusades have been central to the story of the medieval Near East, but these religious wars are only part of the region’s complex history. As Nicholas Morton reveals in The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East (Basic Books, 2022), during the same era the Near East was utterly remade by another series of wars: the Mongol invasions. In a single generation, the Mongols conquered vast swaths of the Near East and upended the region’s geopolitics. Amid the chaos of the Mongol onslaught, long-standing powers such as the Byzantines, the Seljuk Turks, and the crusaders struggled to survive, while new players such as the Ottomans arose to fight back. The Mongol conquests forever transformed the region, while forging closer ties among societies spread across Eurasia. The Mongol Storm is the definitive history of the Mongol assault on the Near East and its enduring global consequences.

Maggie Freeman is a PhD student in the School of Architecture at MIT. She researches uses of architecture by nomadic peoples and historical interactions of nomads and empires, with a focus on the modern Middle East.

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