Nomadic culture is at the core of Larry Frolick’s Grand Centaur Station: Unruly Living with the New Nomads of Central Asia (McClelland & Stewart). His travels begin with an intellectual question: did Asia’s nomadic tribes create the idea of history itself? Frolick proposes that the chaotic raids of Asiatic horselords like Genghis Khan and Tamerlane may have disrupted the settled peoples of western Asia and eastern Europe into record keeping, commerce, doctrine and migration. He begins his voyage in the Ukraine, where he discovers a distinctly Eastern way of life and can’t stop staring at women. He then travels to his most exciting destinations, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Once they were just stops on the famous Silk Road; now they are accessible again after gaining sovereignty from the ussr but attract few visitors. Life is pretty rough in these outpost countries, but a rainbow of sweet fruit and the quiet joy of a night in a nomad encampment make up for bandits and dangerous roads. I’m not sure that Frolick answers any of his own questions: his travelogue peters out once he gets to Mongolia, the source of nomadic horse culture. But the Golden Horde left home for a reason, so it’s fitting that the final destination is empty terrain.