Tamerlane was the last of the 'world conquerors': his armies looted and killed from the shores of the Mediterranean to the frontier of China. Nomad horsemen from the Steppes had been the terror of Europe and Asia for centuries, but with Tamerlane's death in 1405, an epoch of history came to an end. The future belonged to the great dynastic empires - Chinese, Mughal, Iranian and Ottoman - where most of Eurasia's culture and wealth was to be found, and to the oceanic voyagers from Eurasia's 'Far West', just beginning to venture across the dark seas."After Tamerlane" is an immensely important and stimulating work. It takes a fresh look at our global past. Our idea of world history is still dominated by the view from the West: it is Europe's expansion that takes centre-stage. But for much of the six-hundred year span of this book. Asia's great empires seemed much more than a match for the intruders from Europe. It took a revolution in Eurasia to change this balance of power, although never completely. The Chinese empire, against all the odds, has survived to this day. The British empire came and went. The Nazi empire was crushed almost at once.
The rise, fall and endurance of empires - and the causes behind them - remain one of the most fascinating puzzles in world history.
Winner of Wolfson Literary Award for History 2008.
John Darwin is a University Lecturer and a Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. He is the author of Britain and Decolonization, The End of the British Empire and Britain, Egypt and the Middle East.