In "Europe's Steppe Frontier", acclaimed historian William H. McNeill analyzes the process whereby the thinly occupied grasslands of southeastern Europe were incorporated into three great empires: the Ottoman, the Austrian, and the Russian. McNeill benefits from a New World detachment from the bitter nationality quarrels of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries which inspired but also blinded most of the historians of the region. Moreover, the unique institutional adjustments southeastern Europeans made to the frontier challenge cast indirect light upon the peculiarities of the North American frontier experience.
William H. McNeill is the Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of History and the College at the University of Chicago. In 2009 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for his work as a teacher, scholar, and author. His many books include The Pursuit of Power, The Rise of the West, and Mythistory and Other Essays, all published by the University of Chicago Press.