In the fifth century BC, a global superpower was determined to bring truth and order to what it regarded as two terrorist states. The superpower was Persia, incomparably rich in ambition, gold, and men. The terrorist states were Athens and Sparta, eccentric cities in a poor and mountainous backwater: Greece. The story of how their citizens took on the Great King of Persia, and thereby saved not only themselves, but Western civilization as well, is as heart-stopping and fateful as any episode in history. Tom Holland's brilliant study of these critical Persian Wars skillfully examines a conflict of critical importance to both ancient and modern history.
©2005 Tom Holland (P)2016 Tantor
An in-depth look at the role of Persia and Greece in world history. From the title one would conclude this is more story about Persia however it is just as much the history of Greece and its role in preventing Persia from adding Greece to the list of nations conquered in its quest to build its empire.
Expertly written and wonderfully narrated, a must-listen for any history buff.
Excellent for someone already well versed in ancient history. While details of battle were exciting and gave believable character to heroes, traitors and opportunists, descriptions of life (other than death) lacked depth and empathy. I presume a dearth of actual history made for shallow accounts of the in between tines, while much glory (and detail) was heaped on the fights. The first half of the book was more even, while the later half had intricate tales of the action, but seemed to leave out everyday life. Yes, I enjoyed the book, but as a newly interested history reader (as are many Audible customers, I'll presume), I could have used more posting of dates and especially tips on locations. A map and timeline could be added without a rewrite and would be immense boons.
This work was good, though there is much more detail about the Greek side of the conflict, rather than the Persian. It sometimes seemed as though the author veered too far away from the intended topic.
Absolutely! Wonderful balanced coverage of both the Persian and the Greek players.
If you know next to nothing about early Greek & Persian history, this is the place to start.
The sense of time and place. The Greeks won but it could easily have gone the other way. Holland brings a sense of drama to events long gone and all in all, a fantastic narration.
Michael Page was wonderful in his delivery. Added a lot to the enjoyment.
The Persian empire comes alive, but it's an unwieldy bureaucratic nightmare. Biggest takeaway: Athenian democracy less than a generation old at time of Marathon. Citizens still trying to figure it out. If aristocracy still ruled they would have settled with Persians and willingly accepted Asian hegemony--most of the rest of Greece did. A fast read and I will definitely read again.
The story was well organized and gave the development of each of the antagonists history a logical rendition so the climactic battles were completely understandable. The narrator had a pleasing tone and reminds me of the Harry Potter narrator that made the listening so pleasurable. Time well spent.
Mr. Holland's work is a wonderful example of the use of historical facts in such a way as to be both informative and entertaining. Truly it is the equivalent of a page turner. It is thus also a worthwhile way to spend your time. Now if only we can get our children to listen or read this work, many of his audience and readers would give Mr. Holland six stars.
This was the first time I've explored a source text recommend by Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast - no disappointments. It has a very similar focus on the human element; bringing the audience into the physical and psychological world of the past. Stunning in its detail and attention to the nuance of both the Greek and Persian worldviews, the book was a constant pleasure.
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