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Publisher's Summary

The sun is setting on the Western world. Slowly but surely, the direction in which the world spins has reversed: where for the last five centuries the globe turned westward on its axis, it now turns to the east.... For centuries fame and fortune were to be found in the West - in the New World of the Americas. Today it is the East that calls out to those in search of adventure and riches. The region stretching from Eastern Europe and sweeping right across Central Asia, deep into China and India, is taking center stage in international politics, commerce, and culture - and is shaping the modern world. This region, the true center of the Earth, is obscure to many in the English-speaking world. Yet this is where civilization itself began, where the world's great religions were born and took root. The Silk Roads were no exotic series of connections but networks that linked continents and oceans together. Along them flowed ideas, goods, disease, and death. This was where empires were won - and where they were lost. As a new era emerges, the patterns of exchange are mirroring those that have criss-crossed Asia for millennia. The Silk Roads are rising again. A major reassessment of world history, The Silk Roads is an important account of the forces that have shaped the global economy and the political renaissance in the reemerging East.

©2015 Peter Frankopan (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Warren
  • Goulburn, Australia
  • 03-13-16

Amazing insight

Best book I have read with the last chapter pulling it all together. This book is a detailed look into the past that has a striking relevance to today.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Delightful, provacative and sublime

This is a simply astounding interpretation of world history and is mesmerising from start to finish. Delightful, provocative and sublime in equal measure, it is easily one of the most important world history's of recent times.

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Amazing!!!

Should be mandatory reading for all adults and policy makers. This changes your perception of everything.

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  • Natalia
  • 12-03-15

History that is as entertaining as it is educating

What made the experience of listening to The Silk Roads the most enjoyable?

For me this is highly personal, as most of the listening I did while in Istanbul, so I was situated in one of the prime locations mentioned in the earlier sections of the book. But on a less 'contextual' level, I found listening to extremely well written history that assumed the reader/listener was intelligent but not an expert a true pleasure.

What did you like best about this story?

That Frankopan, as usual, manages to tie everything together in a cohesive manner.

Did Laurence Kennedy do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

No. The attempt at different voices and accents was cringeworthy. I realise that he was trying to differentiate when he was reading a direct quote but sometimes he bordered on offensive or racist, or downright silly.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No but I did very much enjoy it.

Any additional comments?

While I know this kind of book is not for everyone, I very much hope a lot of people listen to or read it.

26 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Wras
  • 09-04-15

Time, the creation of gods, the needs of commerce

Hammurabi is mention at the very beginning (1810 - 1750 BC) of this incredible expansive and ambitious book, taking us through the ages and arriving to very recent history, opening doors and unapologetically exposing the interest and machinations of power, clearly coldly; because this world is dog eat dog world, and if you are not the powerful you are the weak and the meek and this history will tell you what that really means, and what happens over and over when you are not ready to survive and be the the alfa, in what is a feast of accumulated records and knowledge with refreshing bluntness and honesty.

Every culture is ethnocentric and sees the world from their particular perspective, this book tries to expand on that representation of reality and advances a few truth that will make many cringe, with its dispassionate presentation of the evolution of religion and influences of one religion on one another and how they borrow for the convenience or promotion in their constituency and how inevitably they attach themselves to governments and nationalistic needs. It explains how the cross pollination of cultures and ideas and the influence of markets, money,commerce, influence the applications of power, belief and morality; throughout the centuries.

It will dispel the filling that globalisation is a new construct, but that it is a two thousand year old reality, that has persisted and adapted through everything, because it distributes wealth and the goods we desire to flavour our food dress our bodies to exchange ideas, create gods and alliances to feed the one true power the market, the global market.

Without the jingoism of nationalism and a more global view of economies the writer changes the perspective of nationalism, to the market interests as the real force behind all realms, striping most of the prevarication and artifacts that makes as believe in a moral, or racial superiority, to oil the needs of power and government to maintain revenue flowing and advantages for the rulers in place in what is a millennial game of chess.

If you like history this is a feast that will open your appetite, and clear your mind to regard history with a new reverence, without romanticism or heroism, just a fascinating human history, and its naked motivations.

The narrator of this book is excellent and adds color and interest to a great story.

85 of 103 people found this review helpful

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  • Rossco
  • 09-13-17

Poorly narrated

The narrator reads this book in a very stumbling manner. Makes it difficult to listen at times.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • 08-29-17

Poor reading.

I don't know what limitations are placed on the reader or whether enough time is allowed for proper preparation but the recording is peppered throughout with poor text interpretation. It is as though no prep has been carried out; phrasing and inflection is misplaced as though the reader has been taken by surprise with each emerging clause. The narrative is marred by this, however competent the writer may be.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 03-17-16

Gets much better throughout

The book sets out with the noble aim of rewriting the history of the world from a brand new, different perspective based around what happened in central Asia, rather than being Eurocentric. However the first half of the book utterly fails to do this, as it is just the same old history of ancient Europe we've heard countless times. However it improves hugely by the middle ages and suddenly its perspective finally becomes about trade, and features bits of history new to me. The final quarter is by the far the best, the history of oil in the middle east, as this was the only section that was completely novel to me.

So persevere, and it ends up being quite a good book!

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Shankybaby
  • 06-01-16

Not so much about the east

I was hoping to hear about eastern history linked with the silk roads. But this is the same old western history with just a bit of focus on silk roads with huge focuses on world wars and all. If I need a chronological western history, I would choose another book. So this one is neither here nor there. Disappointing.

27 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • kate deegan
  • 03-09-16

Interesting.... But

The book is great and full of illuminating insights into current Middle East situation but the reader was poor and his emphasis often wrong

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 02-13-16

A Must Read for people interested in modern global politics.

What a wonderful comprehensive portrait of the Middle East through the centuries! So much becomes clear when you consider the history in terms of "big picture" interpretation. This book will appeal to scholars and lay people alike. Excellent read.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Weaselboy
  • 11-12-15

An enormously impressive global history

What did you like most about The Silk Roads?

Its vast scope is jaw dropping, yet it is very accessible and often thrilling. Dr Peter Frankopan is a scholar of prodigious ability, not least due to his command of numerous languages, and he has achieved a wonderful thing: a history of the world that shifts the focus away from the Mediterranean and Atlantic, instead restoring Asia and the Middle East to the centre of the story. More than that, he joins the dots between ancient empires and the geopolitics of the modern world, providing insight into the historical underpinnings of Putin's Russia, China's economic muscle, and the turmoil in Afghanistan, Iraq & Syria. The Silk Roads is undoubtedly my favourite book of 2015.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Silk Roads?

The central thesis is the most memorable thing - we are too obsessed with Western history, yet for millennia it was Asia and the Middle East which were the focus of great empires, innovation, culture, trade, and conflict.

Which character – as performed by Laurence Kennedy – was your favourite?

Laurence Kennedy injects thespian gravitas, and handles the variety of accents and foreign words admirably, but he did seem a little fatigued sometimes. But given the vast scope of the book, that is entirely forgiveable.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

That would be impossible! It's a richly rewarding book that I absorbed over a couple of weeks.

24 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • Shiraazi
  • 10-29-15

fantastic book and narration. listened to it twice

excellent book covering a diverse range of very interesting parts of the world history. must read

17 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Gordon
  • 04-01-16

Some great gems of historical fact

Liked the revelations relating to Europe and USA interference in modern Arabia leading to the recent cause of unrest. Will listen again sometime and provide recommendations to friends that may be able to last the long journey the book requires;-)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr T J Lynass
  • 06-21-16

Inspiring observation of this pivotal area of the world and its impact on history.

The author has thoroughly researched diverse cultures and traditions and knit them into an accurate depiction of events. The story is told through episodes which personalise key events by masterful story-telling involving the pivotal characters. An epic tale that is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim
  • 08-16-16

Not a history of Asia

Any additional comments?

It started well, with an introduction promising to correct biases. He criticizes the standard story of world history: Greece begat Rome begat the Renaissance, Enlightenment, England, America; but then proceeds to essentially tell that story, albeit with a continuous focus on near and central Asia. There was an interesting portrait of a thriving medieval Asia, but apart from that, the story was largely told through Western eyes. The story of the colonisation of America seemed familiar and mostly irrelevant to his central thesis, and thus somewhat out of place. His history of the 20th century was very engaging for me, and had a number of new revelations and insights. Overall, well worth listening to, alongside other history books.

I'd love to see a true history of Asia, but I don't think Audible has such a thing at present.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Farevar Rami
  • 07-27-16

I really enjoyed the expose of the continuity

of the history of this region with events that occurred in my lifetime. nothing like seeing history repeat itself

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Cameron
  • 01-18-16

Great listen.

A facinating look at history from a surprisingly central perspective. Excellent accents. Would recommend. Word20

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amol
  • 05-06-17

Reader pronunciation is poor

Reader has not pronounced city and person names properly.
This takes away the fluency in listening.
It will be better if this book is made available to existing buyers in another reader's voice who can pronounce names of places and persons of regions of India, Afghanistan, Iran.

The current pronunciation is really bad and incomprehensible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Greg Sale
  • 12-13-16

Fabulous

If you want an understanding of why today is like it is read this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jared
  • 11-10-16

Excellent execution of a formidable topic

If only school history classes had been as engaging as this! Fantastic piece of research.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Shane M Healy
  • 10-22-16

Plot and Counterplot.

The author provides an interesting and entertaining backstory to world events which have shaped our world today. Revealing the deals and double crosses which have created strange bedfellows of unlikely alliances. My enemy's enemy is my friend would also be a suitable title. Why countries are able to support ideologically opposites is revealed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • 10-21-16

fascinating history

this book is a very interesting look at the history of a region which most of us are unfamiliar with and a timely reminder of how we are all linked as a planet.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful