Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States
Why this book?
Scythians and other nomad peoples are often studied and framed as a foil to sedentary societies, with the latter held up as further step along a path of “progress”. Against the Grain completely upends this notion, framing early states (the sedentary counterparts to nomadic people) as unnatural and authoritarian, and nomadic lifestyles as attractive alternatives. While not a study of the Scythians, specifically, this book is an important counterpoint to the sedentary-states-are-better framework that has characterized much discussion on Scythians.