It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures, and religions, and it was the appetites for foreign goods that drove economies and the growth of nations. From the first cities in Mesopotamia to the emergence of Greece and Rome to the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death, the struggles of the Great Game, and the fall of Communism - the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East.
By way of events as disparate as the American Revolution and the world wars of the 20th century, Peter Frankopan realigns the world, orienting us eastward and illuminating how even the rise of the West 500 years ago resulted from its efforts to gain access to and control of these Eurasian trading networks. In an increasingly globalized planet, where current events in Asia and the Middle East dominate the world's attention, this magnificent work of history is very much a work of our times.
©2016 Peter Frankopan. Published by arrangement with Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Production copyright 2015 by Audible, Inc. Audible Studios is a division of Audible, Inc. (P)2016 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
"What does history look like if we shift our focus eastward and give due prominence to those who traversed the Silk Roads? This is the question Frankopan answers in this immensely entertaining work. Many books have been written which claim to be 'A New History of the World'. This one fully deserves the title.... So ambitious, so detailed and so fascinating...The Silk Roads demonstrates why studying history is so important." [Gerard DeGroot, The Times (UK)]
"It's time we recognized the importance of the East to our history, insists this magnificent study.... The breadth and ambition of this swashbuckling history by Peter Frankopan should come as no surprise.... A book that roves as widely as the geography it describes, encompassing worlds as far removed as those of Herodotus and Saddam Hussein, Hammurabi and Hitler.... It is a tribute to Frankopan's scholarship and mastery of sources in multiple languages that he is as sure-footed on the ancient world as he is on the medieval and modern.... Deftly constructed.... The Silk Roads is a powerful corrective to parochialism." [Justin Marozzi, The Sunday Times (UK)]
"A book of dazzling range, ambition, and achievement." (William Dalrymple)
A free-flowing and exciting take on Western history. That said, I was drawn to this book expecting a fresh "Eastern" perspective, and it comes up way short.
From Mesopotamia to the Crusades, Frankopan simply retells familiar stories. Then, as the West grows, he focuses more and more on them, with only courtesy glances back East.
He does take extra time to write about The Great Game, Russia's early attempts imperialism in the Middle East, as well as the 20th century oil-fueled politics that helped lead us to where we are today. However, imagine a history book promoted as this one was, but with a full chapter on the Opium wars, or on Japan's invasion of Manchuria, or on Bangladesh's Liberation War, or on the fall of the Ottoman Empire, anything without the filters of Anglo-America all over it.
For my money, I'd rather give Francis Fukuyama's book, The Origins of Political Order, a read for a decent pre-French-Revolution history of China and India and the Middle East.
I like the new look on the old story and how it is woven from the same information but show different picture. I congratulate Mr. Frankopan on unique perspective on the world and thank him for this wonderful book.
Comprehensive history of everywhere you didn't learn about in school. Author quotes historical figures in strange, B-movie accents. Distracting.
Through more than half of the book I was going to give this 1 star. Its title and introduction are all about the Silk Road, but the substance of the first 2/3 is European history with little more than mentions of 3 things that came from the area of the silk road: Mongols, Islam, and the black plague; and their effects on European history. Other areas that get somehow included are western Russia, India, and the spice islands. Maybe India can be included in the silk road narrative, but the other two are stretches. It's not until modern times that the book focuses on the silk road area, and that focus is mainly on the south western portion. That's when the book gets interesting. The focus the is on the importance of the non-soviet silk road nations in the cold war, their oil, and the machinations of western countries to dominate their politics and their resources.
This is one an in-depth assessment of the global history from a global perspective which is substantially different from what I've previously been taught.
The assessment of the Middle East is the best that I have seen.
This is one of the most fascinating books I have read and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn what happened and why things are as they are
Interesting to hear a perspective from other cultures. Seeing the fall of Rome or the affect of the Kahn's from the middle eastern perspective offers good insight
Loved this book. I am always searching for different points of view regarding the development of the world as we experience it now. This book does a good job presenting familiar information from an unfamiliar vantage point. Loved the story. The presentation was OK. It did not stand out especially good or bad.
Eye-opening, thoroughly researched, forward-looking, fascinating. It's time to stop making "western civilization" part of the mandatory curriculum. Go East, young man/woman.
The wealth of information in this book is enlightening. Anyone who will devote the time to listen to this book once may well have to listen at least once again because the content is so well-researched and so full of cross-cultural background and historical detail.
The author brings to light aspects of history that are just not taught in schools and universities. The historical web of trade and commerce as the engine of world history is absolutely fascinating.
The narrator was problematic for me. In English he is terrific, and I could listen to any strictly English language book from him. Any other language is not his forte. As a fluent speaker of Spanish I was dismayed by the lack of knowledge and terrible mispronunciations throughout the text. The narrator tripped on words inl other languages as well.
The entire concept of The Silk Roads moved me.
this is not a "story". It is history from the perspective of "the heart of the world". A heart which is grpwing strong again. the world is changing in ways not covered by the newaper or tne Television. We in the western world need to learn, kr be left far behind.
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