Book Seeks to Trace Modern Civilisations’ Roots to Turkic Nomads

ASTANA – A recent book, coming from an unlikely historian, seeks to challenge the traditional historical concepts and shed a new light on the role the Turkic-speaking nomads of central Eurasia had played in shaping modern civilisations.

The book, Under the Wolf’s Nest: A Turkic Rhapsody, was written by Professor Kairat Zakiryanov, President of the Kazakh Academy of Sport and Tourism in Almaty.

The book, drawing on sources from Herodotus through to contemporary academic research, seeks to reveal a crucial role played by Turkic nomads in the birth of Islam, Christianity and modern civilization.

The book, originally launched in English in December 2012 at London’s Royal Geographical Society, is now available in Almaty, Bishkek, Tashkent and London. Translated into English and edited by Robin Thomson, it was published by Hertfordshire Press.

According to Open Central Asia (OCA) magazine, which promotes the publication, “in the book Professor Zakiryanov explains how generations of steppe nomads, including Genghis Khan, have helped shape the language, culture and populations of Asia, Europe, the Middle East and America through migrations taking place over millennia. Professor Zakiryanov presents highly accessible yet detailed research, demonstrating clear links between the linguistic and cultural roots of great civilizations and religions both past and present, and the language and societal innovations brought about by wave after wave of Turkic nomads travelling both West and East.”

“After reading the result of years of research by Professor Zakiryanov you will look again at language and culture, and see the living histories they represent,” the OCA magazine said.

“This book is phenomenally symptomatic of the post-Soviet age when newly independent nations of Central Asia search for their historical and cultural self-identity,” wrote Dr Firuza Melville, Director of the Shahnama Centre at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. “Its arguments and conclusions present a real challenge for the academics in the field of Turkic linguistics, social anthropology and cultural studies of Kazakhstan.”

“In this engaging page turner ‘Under the Wolf’s nest: A Turkic Rhapsody’ Kairat Zhakiryanov succinctly covers topics as vast and mesmerising as the steppe itself,” Prof Siddharth Saxena, Chairman of Cambridge Central Asia Forum at Jesus College in Cambridge, commented. “Connecting people spread across a vast area through a common culture, shared values and a sense of belonging is something Turkic people and their leaders know a lot more about than any other civilisation. They have contributed richly to the world civilisation and even some of the most positive aspect globalisation can be traced to have been derived from the nomadic polity which is a significant part of the author’s Kazakh Turkic heritage.”