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During the Middle Ages, a human hurricane roared across Asia from the Sea of Japan to Europe and the Middle East–the Mongol army of Genghis Khan and his successors. In 1260, However, that irresistible Mongol force came into contact with an immovable object–the Mamluks, slave soldiers who had rebelled and taken control of Egypt. The conflict that followed is often viewed as one that changed the world.

Reuven Amitai-Preiss’ Mongols and Mamluks is a masterpiece of historical scholarship, making extensive use of Arab,Armenian and Persian sources. While not fully comprehensive, it thoroughly covers the Mamluk side of the war and adequately covers that of the Mongols.

The strength of Amitai-Preiss’ analysis of the war lies in his examination of it in stages of skirmishing and probes, espionage and the major battles. Another fascinating aspect is the study of war by proxy, a strategy used so commonly in the 20th century by the United States and the former Soviet Union.

Although this work may be too scholarly for the general reader, Mongols and Mamluks is the only one of its kind dealing with one of history’s lesser-known, but nonetheless decisive, turning points
Timothy May