The War of the Three Gods is a military history of the Near and Middle East in the seventh century - with its chief focus on the reign of the Eastern Roman Emperor Heraclius (AD 610-641) - a pivotal and dramatic time in world history. The Eastern Roman Empire was brought to the very brink of extinction by the Sassanid Persians before Heraclius managed to inflict a crushing defeat on the Sassanids with a desperate, final gambit. His conquests were shortlived, however, for the newly converted adherents of Islam burst upon the region, administering the coup de grace to Sassanid power and laying siege to Constantinople itself, ushering in a new era.
Peter Crawford skillfully explains the threeway struggle between the Christian Roman, Zoroastrian Persian, and Islamic Arab empires, a period of conflict peopled with fascinating characters, including Heraclius, Khusro II, and the Prophet Muhammad himself. Many of the epic battles of the period - Nineveh, Yarmuk, Qadisiyyah, and Nahavand - and sieges such as those of Jerusalem and Constantinople are described in as rich detail. The strategies and tactics of these very different armies are discussed and analyzed, while plentiful maps allow the listener to follow the events and varying fortunes of the contending empires. This is an exciting and important study of a conflict that reshaped the map of the world.
©2014 Peter Crawford. First published 2013 Pen & Sword Books Limited (P)2014 Audible Inc.
An interesting account of a period that I had little understanding and an all but forgotten empire. In total, very good but very heavy on battlefield tactics that I felt was at times unnecessary. Also at times the chronology jumps around a bit and I found it a little hard to keep up, but I recommend this book to the casual history non-fiction reader.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
This audiobook goes through the Roman and Persian histories leading up to the rise of Islam, and how it spread across the two empires. It is exactly what you'd expect.
This book is a good historical overview of the Romano-Persian wars of the seventh century, but overstates Muslim successes without addressing the growing schisms and fault lines that rapidly led to reverses and internal conflict. It points those out readily enough to describe Roman reverses and Persian collapse, but dismisses them to easily when examining Islam.
I've been eagerly wating for Audible to release an audiobook on this subject since finishing Albert Hourani's A History of the Arab Peoples back in 2010. Popular history seems to be mostly silent when it comes to providing a Roman or Persian perspective on the rise of the Islamic Caliphate. I was hoping that this title would fill the gap.
The author strikes a good balance between creating an entertaining narrative and acknowledging when the historical sources are too spotty to be dogmatic about what actually occurred. Though not as compelling as similar titles in the genre, the book is well-written overall.
The narration of this book is nearly unbearable. The narrator has a professional voice and good pronunciation but doesn't project well, resulting in a whisper-like, grumbly, bass-heavy recording. This is problematic for me, since I do the majority of my listening while engaged in sometimes-noisy manual labor and almost always listen to my books at 2x or 3x normal playback speed. Even while driving, I've found it difficult to concentrate on the content unless I play the audio at high volume and at 1x or 1.25x speed.
I'm pleased that Audible has provided a PDF supplement with this audiobook, featuring political and battle strategy maps which have proved more fascinating than the book itself. This is a welcome change to the several books and lectures I have downloaded which advertise supplementary content but fail to deliver.
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