"An absolutely brilliant, seminal, forefront work. Neil Kamil combines the deepest kind of erudition with a one-in-a-thousand level of sheer intellectual creativity. Most striking is the disciplinary range of this work: material culture analysis, demography, genealogy, geography, textual exegesis, ethnography, as well as more conventional forms of political, military, religious, and economic history. All are here in various contexts and proportions. Kamil's overall touch is so sure and deft that the reader is barely aware of these numerous methodological crossings. His prose is remarkably effective as well. Even where the ideas are complex and difficult, the words are simple, direct, and forceful."