Tom Holland's brilliant new book describes the very first "clash of Empires" between East and West. Once again he has found extraordinary parallels between the ancient world and our own. There is no competing popular book describing these events.
©2005 Tom Holland; (P)2005 Time Warner AudioBooks
"Incendiary stuff. Sparkling insight and no less sparkling writing." (Independent)
"Excellent." (Sunday Times)
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"Why oh why is this abridged?"
I will definitely pay more attention next time, I thought it was unabridged. I am afraid there are too many huge gaps in the narrative and important details lost for me to be happy with this as I wanted a good introduction to this part of history. I have now gone back to the book itself. A great shame as Andrew Sachs is a perfect narrator.
"Holland on top form as usual"
Holland's natural wit and his wonderful narrative history story telling ability makes this a joy to listen to. The best way (in my opinion) to understand the information presented in this well researched and comprehensive book.
"About the Greeks basically"
Some new insights. There isnt much more to go on it would seem beyond Herodotus it seems but at the very least some interesting theories would have been nice.
I didn't think I knew anything about the Persians but there was nothing new to me here. Its basically a retelling of the same old stories. The story ends abruptly after the second invasion.
A lot of irritating mispronunciations
Disappointment, I thought I'd learn something new about the Persians. I didn't.
This is not a book about the Persians, it dwells to a much greater extent on the Greeks and on stories any one having shown an interest in the period is probably well aware of. Grab the Dan Carlin free podcast on the subject it is much more interesting, informative and thought provoking.
This book has had me enthralled from start to finish I cannot wait for the next story
"Better than fiction"
Holland's rip-roaring book is brilliantly bought to life by Sachs - if you knew a bit about Thermopylae but not the context around it, this is a great book. The relevance to contemporary conflict is covered at the beginning but not two overplayed.
"Enjoyable story, well read, content a bit lobsided"
An ancient Greek perspective of encounters with the Persian empire; and in-fighting between the Greek city states: at a time when history could have taken a very different course if Sparta and Athens hadn't repulsed Xerxes.
Yes- not for historical information but for a potentially enjoyable story (I enjoyed Rubicon).
Andrew Sachs is a great narrator; a great voice for reading a story
From the title I was hoping for more of the Persian perspective (I already know a bit of Ancient Greek history). But sadly that's a bit limited. The Persians are referred to as 'Barbarians' throughout- technically accurate as it means 'non Greek speakers' (so most people fit into that category!). However, the occasional Persian viewpoint that's touched on doesn't seem to support the use of 'Barbarian' in its more common usage. The story of Artemisia (Persian woman leader) is interesting (and in marked contrast to the Athenian view on women!|). The book ends on some interesting aspects: Athens becoming a despot through enforced payment protection from other Greek states and the looming clash between Sparta and Athens and the decline of both.It raised my curiosity about the Persian Empire: where it came from; what happened to it after Thermopylae; Alexander the Great and beyond... and I found the title 'The Persian Empire' by J Lee (Great Courses series in Audible) fascinating and informative (and will listen to more of the Ancient History 'Great courses').
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