Who are the Turks and where did they come from? The successive empires that they created in a whirlwind of conquests from China to North Africa led one chronicler to call the waves of mounted Turkic warriors a 'storm on horseback.' This is the story of the Seljuk Turks of Anatolia who created the first Turkish state. The Seljuk period - when Anatolia, which had been for the most part Greek and Christian and became predominantly Turkic and Muslim - was one of the great cultural transformations in Middle Eastern history. "Storm on Horseback" is both a dramatic history and, uniquely, a traveller's guide to the extraordinary heritage of the Seljuks in Turkey.John Freely takes the reader from Istanbul throughout eastern Anatolia, describing the surpassingly beautiful monuments with which the Seljuks adorned their cities, as well as the music, dance, prose and poetry of the period. Though the Seljuks themselves did not survive as rulers, their cultural heritage lives on in the deepest roots of Turkish life, just as their magnificent monuments still adorn the landscape of Turkey.
John Freely was born in New York and joined the US Navy at the age of seventeen, serving with a commando unit in Burma and China during the last years of World War II. He has lived in New York, Boston, London, Athens and Istanbul and has written over forty travel books and guides, most of them about Greece and Turkey. He is author of The Cyclades, The Ionian Islands (both I.B.Tauris), Crete, The Western Shores of Turkey, Strolling through Athens, Strolling through Venice (all Tauris Parke Paperbacks) and the bestselling Strolling Through Istanbul. He is also the author of Istanbul: The Imperial City, published by Penguin and Jem Sultan: The Adventures of a Captive Turkish Prince in Renaisance Europe, Harpercollins.