kode adsense disini
Hot Best Seller

The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

Availability: Ready to download

For centuries, fame and fortune were to be found in the west – in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the east which calls out to those in search of riches and adventure. Sweeping right across Central Asia and deep into China and India, a region that once took centre stage is again rising to dominate global politics, commerce and culture. A major reassessment of wor For centuries, fame and fortune were to be found in the west – in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the east which calls out to those in search of riches and adventure. Sweeping right across Central Asia and deep into China and India, a region that once took centre stage is again rising to dominate global politics, commerce and culture. A major reassessment of world history, The Silk Roads is a dazzling exploration of the forces that have driven the rise and fall of empires, determined the flow of ideas and goods and are now heralding a new dawn in international affairs.


Compare
kode adsense disini

For centuries, fame and fortune were to be found in the west – in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the east which calls out to those in search of riches and adventure. Sweeping right across Central Asia and deep into China and India, a region that once took centre stage is again rising to dominate global politics, commerce and culture. A major reassessment of wor For centuries, fame and fortune were to be found in the west – in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the east which calls out to those in search of riches and adventure. Sweeping right across Central Asia and deep into China and India, a region that once took centre stage is again rising to dominate global politics, commerce and culture. A major reassessment of world history, The Silk Roads is a dazzling exploration of the forces that have driven the rise and fall of empires, determined the flow of ideas and goods and are now heralding a new dawn in international affairs.

30 review for The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Katia N

    Oh - I am really disappointed with this book! Maybe because I had very different expectations about it. I've read the title and the introduction by the author, and I thought that it was exactly what I want - to know more about the people of this region over the centuries. I wanted to find out about their way of life, religions, political systems, culture and economy. I wanted to know more about their interactions with each other and (only at the last place) their interactions with the other part Oh - I am really disappointed with this book! Maybe because I had very different expectations about it. I've read the title and the introduction by the author, and I thought that it was exactly what I want - to know more about the people of this region over the centuries. I wanted to find out about their way of life, religions, political systems, culture and economy. I wanted to know more about their interactions with each other and (only at the last place) their interactions with the other parts of the world. As a result of reading this book I barely got the answer on the last issue and the sense of chronology, which I knew anyway. I think to say the book is dealing with the complexity of this region in the historical perspective would be overstatement big time. It deals more with the Europe's and later the US's policies, predominately at the Middle East region and their mistakes over the centuries. So if this is your main interest in the book, you might be satisfied. For me the book was as West centred as many other World Histories apart from that normally you have too much of Europe's praise. While here it is Europe and the US bashing. You barely hear about China, the Ottoman empire has almost mentioned in passing (apart from Senan's architecture). But we are treated to the detailed consideration of the courses of the Irangate in the US. I agree that it is important. But I rather read a separate book about this. While here I wanted to find out how the Iranians were leaving before and after the Islamic Revolution for example. The Early Europe has got a rough treatment. For example the fact that the Arabs stopped their conquest at the borders of the modern France is explained that they had nothing to gain from going further, the military resistance by the local population is mentioned but in passing. The same situation with the Mongols five centuries later - really? What a coincidence! The renaissance should be called "naissance" as Early Modern Europe had nothing to do with Rome - i totally missed this point. Those people in the 15th century thought differently. Also I did not get what is new about this "New History of the World." As a summary, if it is your first book about the world history, go for it, if you are ready to skip China, the South America to name a few and have a flavour for the Modern Middle East's politics (especially blunders made by the US in treating Iran and Iraq). Also if you are interested to hear quite a bit of the author's judgements in the area - go for it. If you are interested in the history of peoples of the steppe, like I was, you would probably not be satisfied. I am starting again to look for a book about The Silk Road.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jaidee

    4.5 " epic, illuminating, depleting, disheartening " stars !! 2018 Honorable Mention Read. I started this very long book back in September of 2017 and almost half way through took a lengthy break as there was a chapter missing in my ebook and I had to wait a few months to get a copy from the library. I also needed a break from the many evils of world history. Over my life I have tried to read a number of very thick books that cover the world from the beginning of historical time and have always f 4.5 " epic, illuminating, depleting, disheartening " stars !! 2018 Honorable Mention Read. I started this very long book back in September of 2017 and almost half way through took a lengthy break as there was a chapter missing in my ebook and I had to wait a few months to get a copy from the library. I also needed a break from the many evils of world history. Over my life I have tried to read a number of very thick books that cover the world from the beginning of historical time and have always failed. The books were either too dense or too dry or did not hold my interest. Yet I knew to read such a book was really important. I had too many gaps in my knowledge and like many of us would fill it in with childhood skewed religious classes or flimsy psychological, sociological and feminist understandings. I needed this so desperately and this book was able to deliver a wealth of knowledge, a bit of depth to my understanding of world economics and politics and power dynamics but also, to be honest, despair on the relentless suffering that most of our fellow beings experience for the majority of their lives and in all time periods although the races, classes and ethnicities all take their turn. What was most appealing about this book to me was that the eye view of whatever is happening in each time period was primarily kept on the area of the world we know as the Silk Roads. The turbulent Middle East and the mysterious lands of Central Asia. Mr. Frankopan was able to give these cultures and places more of a voice in their importance as well as contribution to knowledge and culture that most Eurocentric or Far East centric historical books tend to give. I really appreciated this and helped me understand and integrate gaps in understanding in what I knew from my few readings in European, American and Chinese history. Mr. Frankopan accomplished quite a feat in being to condense a world history into bite size chunks that layered knowledge onto understanding and at times even illumination as to how we got into the huge mess that is our modern world. His writing was interesting, neutral, at times entertaining and always with his eye on his central thesis of the most strategically/economically/culturally relevant areas for whatever superpowers happened to be flexing their muscles were in the areas of what we know as the Middle East and Central Asia. In summary, Mr. Frankopan helped me achieve 3 remarkable results 1. I finally understand, in a limited way, why the Middle East is such a volatile powder keg and its very good and valid reasons for being so. The dirty games that Imperialist regimes have played in this area are immense, cruel and unfathomable. 2. Truly appreciated the contributions to art, music, literature, science and medicine that the peoples of Central Asia and Persia contributed to the world especially in the Dark and Middle Ages in Europe. 3. Solidified my understanding that people and regimes in power are primarily corrupt and yes, evil, sometimes with a lower case -e and sometimes with a capital one. Evil and cruelty has been perpetuated by every regime in power and that control and greed are the primary reasons for this. We are often told that we need to learn from our knowledge of history but I feel it is more likely to help us understand what is inevitable. I will stop there so I don't move into despair.....

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tariq Mahmood

    This is the most unbiased and objective narration of history focussing on the rich history of countries on the old Silk Route. The aim was simple, somehow focus the spotlight of history back on this region instead of focussing on European and American historical version which seems to be widely prevalent. Peter has weaved a tremendous story which at times almost seems apocryphal to someone like myself who is steeped with the popular historical narrative. The fact that Peter is a well respected h This is the most unbiased and objective narration of history focussing on the rich history of countries on the old Silk Route. The aim was simple, somehow focus the spotlight of history back on this region instead of focussing on European and American historical version which seems to be widely prevalent. Peter has weaved a tremendous story which at times almost seems apocryphal to someone like myself who is steeped with the popular historical narrative. The fact that Peter is a well respected historian does help matters as it forced me to take his view seriously. I would highly recommend this beautifully crafted and engaging historical narrative which reads like a well made documentary.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Siria

    The Silk Roads is part of the genre of popular history books that purports to tell the history of the world through one particular theme or from one particular vantage point, and is better than most of them. Peter Frankopan is a trained historian, and so knows how to synthesise a great deal of information from cultures across Asia and Europe and the span of several centuries in a nuanced manner. As an example of a sweeping chronicle, there's much to admire here. The author knows how to keep a na The Silk Roads is part of the genre of popular history books that purports to tell the history of the world through one particular theme or from one particular vantage point, and is better than most of them. Peter Frankopan is a trained historian, and so knows how to synthesise a great deal of information from cultures across Asia and Europe and the span of several centuries in a nuanced manner. As an example of a sweeping chronicle, there's much to admire here. The author knows how to keep a narrative moving at a brisk pace and when to throw in the occasional wry aside, which also helps the reader to move quickly through such a thick book. Frankopan's main point—that central Asia is far more central to world history than is popularly thought or than most Western textbooks teach—is well-made, if not exactly new. I found the early chapters of this book particularly engrossing, as Frankopan—a Byzantinist—is clearly most at home in those centuries. Sadly, as the book progressed, I got a little more dissatisfied with it. Once the European Age of Exploration begins, the focus shifts so that we get more of a sense of how imperialist powers used Asia to fight their battles than anything else. This is, of course, an important story, and I learned some new things about British, French, and Russian involvement in Iran and Iraq to appal and depress me. But what I didn't get much of a sense of was the voices of those who lived in those regions and the reactions which they had to the forces swirling around their homes. Nor did I get a sense of the interactions between central Asia and the world to the south and east of it. There's little about China and nothing about, say, the Swahili coast. This serves to subtly, and I am sure unintentionally, reinforce the idea that the history of central Asia is important inasmuch as it helps to contextualise things that happened in the West. This may well be a function of the secondary scholarship on which Frankopan is drawing as he moves further and further from his areas of expertise, but it's a shame.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Simon Clark

    Simply stunning, a clear-eyed, convention-defying overview of human history. If you were to give an alien a single book to understand the large-scale building blocks of history, this would be an excellent choice. Comparing favourably with Yuval Noah Harari's blockbuster Sapiens due to its meticulous referencing, this is a book on - really - economic history that I simply could not put down. If I could make this review physically glow, I would. I loved this book that much.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Omar Ali

    This is a frustrating, though still useful, book. Historian Peter Frankopan's title claims this is "a new history of the world". He then proposes that what the world needs is to reorient its focus from Europe to "the silk roads", vaguely defined by him as "the region between East and West.. from the Eastern shores of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean to the Himalayas". This almost certainly reflects the fact that the core of this region happens to his particular area of interest (Turkey, Persi This is a frustrating, though still useful, book. Historian Peter Frankopan's title claims this is "a new history of the world". He then proposes that what the world needs is to reorient its focus from Europe to "the silk roads", vaguely defined by him as "the region between East and West.. from the Eastern shores of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean to the Himalayas". This almost certainly reflects the fact that the core of this region happens to his particular area of interest (Turkey, Persia, Central Asia and Russia) as a historian. Having made this decision, he has to force the rest of the story to keep coming back to this region, to somehow keep his argument afloat. My recurring thought on reading this book was that all this is unnecessary. He could have written a history of the region without pretending that this was the REAL history of the world, and it would have worked fine. Or he could have attempted a history of the world and not bothered with this tendentious framing. But he insists on doing both, and it causes endless (and needless) irritation. The other issue is that having attempted a sort of forced universal history, he wanders into areas where he is clearly not an expert and makes some surprisingly basic errors. For example, the abduction of Sita is described as being part of the great Indian epic, the Mahabharata (it is actually in the Ramayana; a mistake that could be avoided by even the most basic familiarity with Indian culture); and the Quranic verse "hold fast to the rope of Allah" (3:103) is interpreted (with breathtaking audacity, if not accuracy) as a possible message of conciliation between Muslims, Jews and Christians (it is an explicit call for Muslim unity, against all comers). These are minor details, but they should put the reader on guard. More seriously, at one point he claims that the building of the Taj Mahal owes to the riches that the Mughals gathered from Europe, which in turn was getting them from the newly discovered Americas ("India's glory came at the expense of the Americas"), which is a bit much. As far as I know, It came from the sweat and blood Indian peasants, not from events in the distant Americas. I don't claim to be an expert on precious metal flows of that era, but the claim seems needlessly hyperbolic. If he is right, I would love to hear more about it though (PS: the erudite Pseudoerasmus pointed me to one of his posts that shed light on this issue, and basically says the injuns paid for it, not the Americas). There is also a consistent and very strong undertow of what may be described as "Eurocentric-self-hate" throughout the book. Peter thinks the West has been very vicious and uniquely rapacious in history, which is a kind of mirror image of the idea that the West has been uniquely powerful in history. Even where this is likely true (e.g. in the 19th century), his treatment of this seems to be too close to popular postmarxist postmodern historiography for comfort. In general, the account of recent events (the book ends with the recent American disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan) is too superficial to satisfy anyone who is genuinely interested in any particular theater of conflict, and too trite and formulaic to be categorized as a groundbreaking universal history. The last chapter is a good example of the irritating way he mixes occasional good insights with his need to fit everything into his original "silk roads as center of the world" thesis. He also has a tendency to rather pompously assert "the West needs to give up its current disastrous focus on X and step back and adopt the correct way of looking at things"; which is irritating because X is usually a straw man and the "correct way" is mostly a rewording of his unproven "center of the world" thesis. My last point is bit hard to convey, but I will try: Frankopan displays absolutely no awareness of the fact that he himself is part and parcel of the institutions and society which he repeatedly dismisses as painfully naive and incompetent.  One gets the feeling that the author really believes that he and Oxford will be just fine, since they are somehow above the fray. As an (artificial) vantage point from which to write the book, this is not a bad idea, but when reading the book one gets the distinct impression that this is not just a strategic (and justifiable) vantage point, it is a thought that has really never crossed his mind. My point is this: a universal history is ultimately a reflection of the wisdom, insight, discernment and, yes, character, of the author. He is picking and choosing what few things to present out of a gigantic mass of materials, and he decides how to frame it; and Peter Frankopan does not impress me in this regard. And being impressive in this regard does not always mean one has to agree with the author's conclusions. Christopher Beckwith (author of "Empire of the Silk Roads") may have many opinions I do not share, but he commands respect by his impressive and careful scholarship and his deeply thought out positions. In short, what he says has weight, even if I do not agree with his conclusion. Peter Frankopan does not match that standard. He may have access to more facts, but he is no Gibbon, and that knocks this book down a peg. Still, the book is not without its redeeming features. He has read widely and there are genuine insights and nuggets of interesting information scattered throughout the book, making it worth your while. You would be well advised to suspend judgement about the frame in which he has chosen to frame them, and you should keep in the back of your mind the fact that all his minor facts are not necessarily correct. Still, worth a read. PS: for a really good book about the Silk Roads, one that will teach you new things and genuinely make you think new thoughts, check out Christopher Beckwith's "Empires of the Silk Road". Razib Khan has an excellent review. 

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    This book covers the history of the area known as the Silk Road since it was first used, by traders circa 200 years BCE, up to very recent times. I'd touched on some of this history before but Peter Frankopan comes at events from a slightly different angle: essentially, his premiss is that early civilisation wasn't actually shaped by the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians - it was the Persians who provided the catalyst for much of the learning and development that established the world we now live in. This book covers the history of the area known as the Silk Road since it was first used, by traders circa 200 years BCE, up to very recent times. I'd touched on some of this history before but Peter Frankopan comes at events from a slightly different angle: essentially, his premiss is that early civilisation wasn't actually shaped by the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians - it was the Persians who provided the catalyst for much of the learning and development that established the world we now live in. His view is that as people travelled the Silk Road routes, between China and the Mediterranean, ideas and religions as well as all sorts of goods travelled with them and that early scholars from the surrounding areas were, in fact, way ahead of the curve. At an early stage I was seeking out early maps of the area to ascertain where exactly Persia, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Asia Minor and other ancient names actually featured in the geography as we understand it today. The text is, in truth, rather textbook dry but it’s also peppered with small bits of wisdom and knowledge that surprised and delighted me. But it's a long book and I started to find myself rushing through sections to get to the periods I was most interested in. The final sections of the book deal with events post WWII. I found to this part to be fascinating; even though I'd lived through most of this period, I quickly realised how little I really knew about how this bit of history had unfolded. The conclusion to the book is sobering too as it draws attention to the rich natural resources of the area (gas, oil and minerals) and how this is bringing increasing wealth to nations I couldn't even point to on a map. Frankopan suggests that history may well be turning full circle and cites examples to support his case that in the future the East may be rediscover its former pre-eminence over the West. A thoughtful and thought provoking book for anyone interested in discovering more about the colourful history of this area.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jaya

    4.75 An extremely well researched but defintely not "dry" history of the Silk Roads. I am definitely a happy camper. Need time to gather my thoughts and refer to my notes for a better and cohesive review reaction...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Schwartz

    Don't let the size of "The Silk Roads" daunt you. It's very readable. The scope is huge, geographically and over centuries, but Peter Frankopan keeps everything clear and moving along. I lack familiarity with the history, so I can't say whether his arguments, his judgements on history, are true -- and what is truth? Probably if each of us studied the same scholarly texts we'd decide things a bit differently. But his arguments did hang together: the evidence he presents supports his insights. Fran Don't let the size of "The Silk Roads" daunt you. It's very readable. The scope is huge, geographically and over centuries, but Peter Frankopan keeps everything clear and moving along. I lack familiarity with the history, so I can't say whether his arguments, his judgements on history, are true -- and what is truth? Probably if each of us studied the same scholarly texts we'd decide things a bit differently. But his arguments did hang together: the evidence he presents supports his insights. Frankopan has a nice style for a popular history book. The scholarship is evident (and the referencing is great if you want to dig deeper with additional reading), but he wears it lightly and the wry sharpness of his judgement on the greed, violence, delusion and sheer stupidity of various individuals and nations/empires helps kick the book along. The complexity and good governance of the empire Ghengis Khan founded made for fascinating reading. Skip through a few centuries and the Russian factor in the decision to start World War I is one I hadn't read before (confessing my ignorance). Even the twentieth and twenty first centuries, where I thought I knew more contained surprises. "The Great Game", as the British called it, was never a game. Resources, wealth and security, power, religion and identity, mix to create a volatile region that impacts the world. I'm not sure I agree with Frankopan's conclusion that the world is turning back to centre on the old silk roads. That power shift to China, the belly of the old Soviet Union and the Middle East seems disputable from my corner of the world, Australia. And yet, there's now a train (or composed of several trains) that carries cargo from China across the old silk roads' spine. Maybe the upheaval in the Middle East, the terrible suffering of its people, is because of power shifting and players fighting to seize their opportunities, or to resist losing what they have. "The Silk Roads" is an interesting and absorbing read that lingers in the mind.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Philip Allan

    The Silk Roads is history painted on an epic scale. The books starts with the birth of human civilisation in the Fertile Crescent and in China, and takes the reader through to the 21st century, becoming more reportage on current events. Between is a journey as fascinating as one made by any caravan crossing the mountains and deserts of Central Asia on the silk road of the title. This a book about Asia, and the links that run between the Far East and the Atlantic in the Far West. Frankopan uses t The Silk Roads is history painted on an epic scale. The books starts with the birth of human civilisation in the Fertile Crescent and in China, and takes the reader through to the 21st century, becoming more reportage on current events. Between is a journey as fascinating as one made by any caravan crossing the mountains and deserts of Central Asia on the silk road of the title. This a book about Asia, and the links that run between the Far East and the Atlantic in the Far West. Frankopan uses the silk road as a metaphor for cultural exchange of all sorts. Flowing alongside the spices, treasure and exotic goods we expect are new religions, important innovations, poets and misfits, philosophies and political thought – mostly, but not always forces for good. What makes this account so compelling for a western student of history like myself, is the way the author shifts the reader’s focus a quarter turn of the globe to the east. Familiar events, like the rise of Rome, the Crusades, or the World Wars look quite different from that perspective, challenging excepted norms. The writer’s style is a little repetitive in places, labouring some points he has already established, but the strength of the content wins through. Definitely a good read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Richard Newton

    Well written, well researched, interesting and original - all good points about a book that is excellent in parts. I enjoyed reading it, found much to be compelling and challenging to some of my own views, but at times I found this book frustrating. For all its excellence, this is less one book than two. And neither of those books quite fulfils the promise of the title. The first book, roughly chapters 1-16, is a history of trade routes - and in being that, it is largely about Eurasia. The secon Well written, well researched, interesting and original - all good points about a book that is excellent in parts. I enjoyed reading it, found much to be compelling and challenging to some of my own views, but at times I found this book frustrating. For all its excellence, this is less one book than two. And neither of those books quite fulfils the promise of the title. The first book, roughly chapters 1-16, is a history of trade routes - and in being that, it is largely about Eurasia. The second book, roughly chapters 17 onwards is a much more detailed history, still with an emphasis on trade, but might be better called "why the world is now in the mess it is in". Both of these books are very good, but they do not quite fit seamlessly together. The first book is broad brush history, the second is much more detailed ordering of facts leading to forward looking conclusions. In both cases the term "Silk Road" is a metaphor for trade routes, rather than being specifically about "The Silk Road", and it is pretty much about Eurasia and not the world as a whole (and there is a lot of world outside Europe and Asia). But both books are good enough to forgive these faults. The first book is a wonderful general history. It shows quite how much of history is not about the west. It rebalances the bias of the traditional western histories I have grown up with. Its not that western history is not interesting and important, it is both of these things, but there is so much history which is not the history of the west - and it is worth knowing. For long periods western Europe was a quiet backwater compared to what was happening in the rest of the world. Read this if you like big historical themes and interesting original insights. The second book is a story of ongoing disaster - influenced heavily by mistaken policies firstly of Britain and then America in the middle east and Asia. It's quite an eye opener, if not always a pleasant one to read. The British Empire may not have been one of the worst, but in the second book you learn it was full of plenty of self-interest, deviousness and unpleasant behaviour. And the behaviour of America in the last few decades has been no better, possibly even worse. If you are westerner and you are irritated by the chants of hypocrisy pointed at us from middle eastern countries- read this to understand why that anger has a very valid and strong basis.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Clif Hostetler

    This is a world history from the perspective that the area between China and Europe is the “center of gravity” of everything important in human endeavors. For the author, Frankopan, this loosely defined region is bounded by western China, northern India, the Horn of Africa, eastern Syria, and southern Russia. Roughly speaking this places Uzbekistan in the center. When passage through this area was the only way for trade goods to be transported between east and west it was indeed an important are This is a world history from the perspective that the area between China and Europe is the “center of gravity” of everything important in human endeavors. For the author, Frankopan, this loosely defined region is bounded by western China, northern India, the Horn of Africa, eastern Syria, and southern Russia. Roughly speaking this places Uzbekistan in the center. When passage through this area was the only way for trade goods to be transported between east and west it was indeed an important area. Trade and exchange through this area resulted in a development of culture and wealth such that by around 1000 A.D. world riches were concentrated around Baghdad. But ever since the 1500s when Europeans learned how to sail the oceans to reach the Far East, most of history has moved elsewhere. Frankopan insists that it’s still important and will be more so in the future. World history from the time of Alexander the Great to the present is a massive scope to fit into a 500-page history (additional 100 pages of notes and bibliography). Thus as a world history this book is somewhat cursory in its coverage, but detailed and interesting anecdotes are provided focusing on the Middle East area. All the important events are included (e.g. Alexander the Great, the Roman and Sassanid Empires, Attila the Hun, multiple religions—Islam in particular, Crusades, Mongols, Western traders and colonialist, Muslim Mughals in India, the Great Game, World War One, World War II). Through the coverage of these events the author provides special emphasis on and praise of the cultures in the targeted area. Likewise he also demonstrates subtile prejudice against Western influences by pointing out their mistakes and weaknesses. When the narrative reaches the late twentieth century the book provides a thorough account of British and American meddling in Iranian affairs and their support of the Shah. Needless to say this is the tortured part of modern history and makes French, British and American foreign policy look foolish and bad. At the end of the book Frankopan forecasts a coming renewed glory for the Silk Road region. “We are seeing signs of the world’s center of gravity shifting—back to where it lay for millennia." Perhaps, time will tell. But these words have a tinge of rose colored glasses. Below are several excerpts taken from the book. I don't claim them to be the most important parts of the book, just things I found interesting. The following excerpt is an example of an interesting anecdote from the ninth century that tells how a semi-nomadic tribe, the Khazars, in the Russian Steppes ended up adopting Judaism as their religion in spite of efforts by Christian and Moslem missionaries to win them over. (British spelling is used throughout the book)Remarkably a copy of the khagan's reply to this letter survives with the Kazar ruler explaining his tribes conversation to Judaism. The decision to convert, wrote the Khagan was the result of the great wisdom of the one of his predecessors, who had brought delegations representing different faiths to present the case for each. Having pondered how best to establish the facts the rule had asked the Christians whether Islam or Judaism was the better faith. When they replied that the former was certainly worse than the later, he asked the Muslims whether Judaism or Christianity was preferable. When they lambasted Christianity and also replied that Judaism was the less bad of the two, the Khazar ruler announced that he had reached a conclusion: both had admitted that "the religion of the Israelites was better," he declared, so "trusting in the mercies of God and the power of the Almighty, I choose the religion of Israel, that is, the religion of Abraham. (p109)Slavery was endemic in Islamic society during the zenith of its culture in the medieval years—much the same as it had been in the Roman Empire during its heyday. The following excerpt from the book provides a discussion of the extent of slavery in Islamic lands:Recent research suggests that at the height of its power the Roman Empire required 250,000—400,000 new slaves each year to maintain slave population. The size of the market in the Islamic lands was considerably larger—assuming the demand for slaves was analogous—stretching from Spain through to Afghanistan, which would suggest that the number of slaves being sold may have been far greater even than those for Rome. Although the limitations of the source material are frustrating, some idea of the likely scale comes from the fact that one account talks of a caliph and his wife owning a thousand slave girls each, while another was said to own no fewer than four thousand. Slaves in the Muslim world were as ubiquitous—and silent—as they were in Rome. (p116)The book mentions that much of the gold and silver taken by Spain from the newly found mines of North and South America ended up in the far east in payment for luxury goods such things as spices, silks and fine china. China in particular had a preference for silver relative to gold, thus a large portion of the silver ended up in China. The following excerpt discusses the economic consequences of such an accumulation of silver in China:Much of the silver that flooded into China was spent in a series of major reforms, not the least of which were the monetisation of the economy, the encouragement of free labour markets and a deliberate program to stimulate foreign trade. Ironically, China's love of silver and the premium it placed on this particular precious metal became its Achilles heel. With such great quantities of silver reaching China, above all through Manila, it was inevitable that its value would start to fall, which over time caused price inflation. the net result was that the value of silver, and above all its value in relation to gold, was forced into line with other regions and continents. Unlike India, where the impact of the opening up of the world produced new wonder of the world, in China it was to lead to a serious economic and political crisis in the seventeenth century. Globalisation was no less problematic five centuries ago than it is today. (p235)This book provides a history written from an intentionally non-Western point of view. This difference in perspective is what makes it unique and worth reading. Link to article titled, "Eurasia, the supercontinent that will define our century": https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/0...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rohit Enghakat

    This is one of the most beautiful history books I have ever read. It was recommended to me by 7Jane (thank you, 7Jane) and in turn I have recommended this to a few other people. What attracted me was the title and the beautifully designed cover. However, the title was a bit of a misnomer when it says that it is a new history of the world. The book largely concentrates on Europe and the Middle East with a passing reference to other countries. The book is written in a chronological order starting This is one of the most beautiful history books I have ever read. It was recommended to me by 7Jane (thank you, 7Jane) and in turn I have recommended this to a few other people. What attracted me was the title and the beautifully designed cover. However, the title was a bit of a misnomer when it says that it is a new history of the world. The book largely concentrates on Europe and the Middle East with a passing reference to other countries. The book is written in a chronological order starting with the Medieval Age and ending in 2000s. The book gives insights into the political landscape of each region and the history behind the major events that have occurred in the world. Each chapter is divided into different historical periods and each such chapter has small nuggets of information which was absolutely delightful to read. The author has done a wonderful job putting together such a well researched tome. However, this is not an in-depth research into the history of the world.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marie-Paule

    A broad and comprehensive overview of the history of the world, starting with the Persians in the 6th century BC, and ending with the contempory challenges in Central Asia. For me, this book had three merits. First of all, I admired the way the author explains the connections between and the interdependency of historical events in completely different parts of the world. After reading this book, I realized that globalisation is not new, but existed throughout the history of the world. One great A broad and comprehensive overview of the history of the world, starting with the Persians in the 6th century BC, and ending with the contempory challenges in Central Asia. For me, this book had three merits. First of all, I admired the way the author explains the connections between and the interdependency of historical events in completely different parts of the world. After reading this book, I realized that globalisation is not new, but existed throughout the history of the world. One great example: the description of the Chinese economy in the 16th Century : a copy/paste of the current situation with mass production and a keen monetary policy. East and West have influenced each other throughout history, and Central Assia - home of the Silk Roads - played an active role therein, because it literally tied both worlds together. This is the second strong point of the book. It doesn't describe world history from the point of view of Europe (or later, the USA and/or USSR), but it looks to the world from within Central Asia. I never realized the great importance of Persia/Iran untill I read this book. And Irak, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. And what about the Central-Asean republics of the former USSR? Due to their geographical situation, they seem a little bit 'forgotten' by us Westerners, but it didn't prevent these regions from influencing history in a great many ways. What will the future bring, knowing that these regions are literally sitting on piles of natural resources (both energy and minerals). 'Follow the money' is the leitmotiv of this book. Money - and thus, political power - moved from Ancient Greece to Rome, to Constantinopel, to Spain and Portugal, to Northwest Europe, to the British Empire, to the USA, to the Middle-East, and next, to where? One thing is for sure: we can't ignore Central Asia in the coming decades.

  15. 4 out of 5

    BrokenTune

    1.5* This book. It's been such a disappointment: Not only is the title an exercise in how to cram several misrepresentations in less than ten words, but the writing style left me rather unimpressed, too. There is little that is new about the history contained in the book. It certainly is not a history of the world (Europe, perhaps, but the focus on the power struggles between Christianity and Islam, and later on the West v. the East, and the US against Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan does not make this a b 1.5* This book. It's been such a disappointment: Not only is the title an exercise in how to cram several misrepresentations in less than ten words, but the writing style left me rather unimpressed, too. There is little that is new about the history contained in the book. It certainly is not a history of the world (Europe, perhaps, but the focus on the power struggles between Christianity and Islam, and later on the West v. the East, and the US against Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan does not make this a book about the history of world). It is even less a book about the Silk Roads. If you picked this up in the hope of learning about the trade routes and the people who live or travel along them, you've picked the wrong book. Sure there were a few interesting snippets of history in this, but the authors choice of not going into a lot of detail and preferring to follow up events with other events without providing a lot of deliberations about the possible connections or effects, does not make for inspiring reading. Unless, that is, we are talking about the inspiration to look for other books. Maybe the premise of the book was a little too ambitious? Maybe some editor should have pointed out some of the gaps ... or at least that the title does not reflect the content of the book? Whatever the cause of its failings, I was hoping for a thoughtful insight into the history of the Silk Roads, but all I got from the books was what read like the work of a self-congratulatory academic who couldn't make up his mind what to write about and looked at history mostly through Union-Jack-striped goggles.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Boudewijn

    In this book, Peter Frankopan wants to give an alternative insight in the history of the world by describing the history of the Persian region which has shaped and still shapes the world we live in today The traditional view that the world we know today was shaped by the Romans and the Greeks is challenged in this book. Instead, Frankopan places the center the centre of the world in the region of modern Iraq, Iran, the Caucasus and the Russian steppes. The silk roads have functioned as the world's In this book, Peter Frankopan wants to give an alternative insight in the history of the world by describing the history of the Persian region which has shaped and still shapes the world we live in today The traditional view that the world we know today was shaped by the Romans and the Greeks is challenged in this book. Instead, Frankopan places the center the centre of the world in the region of modern Iraq, Iran, the Caucasus and the Russian steppes. The silk roads have functioned as the world's arteries where people, goods and ideas have flowed as long as human history. Frankopan vividly describes the history of regions, with colourful quotes from varying sources. He does this objectively and from a non-Western point of view which - in its own right - is a fresh way of looking at things. I personally found the part where Frankopan deals with the discovery of oil in the region, the role the British and later the Americans played in this region and how this has developed in the world of conflict we live today. In this way, it is not so much a new history of the world, but rather an alternative history. The only criticism I have on this book, is its conclusion. In Frankopan's view this region is rising in importance, with large amounts of resources still yet untouched, waiting to be turned into economic growth for the whole population. But ask everyone that lives in the region, and they will answer that these riches will only end up in the pocket of greedy dictators and the small political elite.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Murtaza

    This is a profoundly ambitious book, aiming to tell the whole history of the world from the perspective of the "Silk Roads" that run through Asia. In a way it is almost impossibly ambitious, because the subject itself is limitlessly broad, potentially. The author runs through the history in a way that is generally satisfactory, although by necessity he has to skim over many events that were quite monumental. This is a general world-history, a clearly written and useful one, but not one that nece This is a profoundly ambitious book, aiming to tell the whole history of the world from the perspective of the "Silk Roads" that run through Asia. In a way it is almost impossibly ambitious, because the subject itself is limitlessly broad, potentially. The author runs through the history in a way that is generally satisfactory, although by necessity he has to skim over many events that were quite monumental. This is a general world-history, a clearly written and useful one, but not one that necessarily breaks new ground or proposes a new thesis. What I found most notable about the book however is how it recontextalizes current events. We're living through a transitional stage in human history, where economic and political predominance is shifting away from the Western hemisphere. The idea of Western Europe and North America being central to world history is a new one. The norm in human history has been Asia as the locus of events. With the end of the colonial period and the fracturing of the great European empires - an event of a magnitude that we don't always appreciate today - Asia is once more returning to its normal place in world affairs. The rise of Asia is the story of the 21st century. This book charts out well how power moved west bit by bit, and is slowly migrating back again. This is not to say that other regions of the world will be desolate, advances in technology and growing populations globally suggest that the world will be a Silk Road on a grand scale. But its clear that Obama's "pivot to Asia" was a recognition of the fact that Europe is no longer the most important region for the United States in the world going forward.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

    I LOVED this book. If you are extremely well versed in history, then, to you, it might not read like the "new history of the world," the book promises. Since I am only a moderate reader of history, there was plenty of new information for me in this book. Usually, the history that interests me most involves great scientists or inventors or the kings, queens, and other rulers of the world from the distant past. When trying to read about more recent events, such as the Revolutionary war, WWI or WWI I LOVED this book. If you are extremely well versed in history, then, to you, it might not read like the "new history of the world," the book promises. Since I am only a moderate reader of history, there was plenty of new information for me in this book. Usually, the history that interests me most involves great scientists or inventors or the kings, queens, and other rulers of the world from the distant past. When trying to read about more recent events, such as the Revolutionary war, WWI or WWII, my eyes glaze over and my mind begins to wander. Surprisingly, when this book chronicled the Revolutionary War, WWI and WWII, I was completely addicted to every page. Prior to reading this book, if you asked me how the Revolutionary War began, I surely would not have told you that the unethical actions of some dude named Robert Clive (so good!) was a key motivator for the people living in America to fight for the right to be their own country. If anyone had asked me about the Holocaust, I would not have known that it really started in the wheat fields of Russia. Every time Frankopan relayed a well-told history, I would start to feel as if I had heard it before (who hasn't heard of Alexander the Great, Queen Isabella, Hitler, or the many other rulers who have shaped our world) Frankopan would introduce me to people I had never heard about in any classroom or book (Do you know the story of how Yale thieved his way to the good life and to having an ivy named after him?). At first this book seemed like a standard history. Beginning as far back as history records, Frankopan took his reader on a sweeping and marvelous journey through time, witnessing the conquering and colonization of our globe. At it's core, this book has one central question, "What travels up and down the arteries and veins (waterways) of the earth?" You might think the answer is, "Material goods travel from one place to another via the Silk Road." The answer is so much better than that. What really traverses the veins and arteries of Earth is power -- who can sell the most goods, make the most money, conquer the most land, steal the most from the citizens of every land, and so on. As he told each history, he absolutely excelled at making the reader wonder, 'What would *I* have done if I had been the ruler of that country at the time?' It's so easy to engage in Monday morning quarterbacking and pass judgement on what various leaders did wrong. I personally despise Reagan because of the racists ideologies to which he subscribed and continually perpetuated. It is easy, no matter which leaders you idolize or despise, to engage in black and white (wrong and right) thinking. It's much harder to stop and ask yourself, "If I were Reagan, what would I have done?" While I know perfectly well that I would never have made it my mission to promote the idea of the black welfare queen, driving around in her Cadillac (on her way to meet her next dude who will impregnate her with yet another baby tax dollars will have to pay for), I don't know what I would have done about funding Saddam and his army. Sure, the Iran-Contra affair was pretty bad. As a liberal, I see it as particularly horrible. And yet, what would I have done if I were Reagan. I found myself stunned at my own inability to take the best action to keep our country safe. If Reagan refused to fund Saddam, he risked Saddam turning to other countries who would have been more than happy to fund him and form an alliance against the U.S.. I don't condone Reagan's actions. Further, I support any efforts that ensured transparency and brought him to task in front of the American people; and still, I find it almost impossible to figure out what *I* would have done in Reagan's place. This happened so often throughout the book, with so many different leaders of different countries and companies, that I found myself in a state of constant moral crisis. When a book puts me in such a conflicted state, for such a long time period, I find that extremely rewarding. My dopamine neurons were going crazy, making me completely addicted to every page of this book. Every day, I had to put myself in the place of someone else, a powerful leader, and try to imagine what I would have done differently. There were so many great stories about how humans (usually those with the most power) used the Silk Road to destroy enemies, that it is hard to pick only a few to highlight in this review. Here are some of, what I found to be, the most enjoyable stories in this book: All three of these stories involve the East India company. No matter how much I read about the EIC, the info I discover never fails to amaze me. 1) The East India Company drugged its way to power. Talk about roofying whole masses of people to get what you want! The EIC started out as a company of merchants who sold goods from one continent to another. However, when they began dealing drugs, they rose to become an occupying power. Their transition into drug dealers was seamless and is what allowed them transition from every day merchant to a major ruling force in the world. China specialized in trading silk, porcelain, and, above all, tea, making them a powerful world leader. The EIC was able to get its foot in the door by trading goods, but when the peoples of India grew opium and the EIC traded it, a major shift in power occurred. The EIC funneled in opium for the Chinese people to get hooked on, while funneling out all the material goods. As the Chinese people became more and more addicted to opium, the European people became more and more addicted to material goods. All of this added up to great wealth and power for the EIC and the European Country that owned it. 2) Prior to when Yale (who would eventually be the main benefactor of Yale University in Connecticut) served in the Navy, most of the positions in a company were assigned to people who were born to good families. Yale was an average person who started out in a lowly position in the Navy. Through this new power structure, which allowed anyone to move up if they worked hard and had seniority, Yale was able to move up in ranks and hold a high position in the EIC. Fortuitously, he was station in Madras. All the goods that were shipped up and down the waterways in a large area around Madras had to go through Madras to be "taxed". For Yale, "taxing" meant helping himself to whatever the hell he wanted. Because of the diamonds and spices Yale stole from the local merchants, he became one of the wealthiest men in the world. His crimes didn't go unnoticed. But, rather than being punished, he was simply asked to leave, and leave he did! He took all that stolen "new money" with him and spent it on the finest life had to offer. When Yale was older, he made a very large donation to the Connecticut School. Hoping for more donations of that kind, the renamed themselves Yale. 3) No one from the original Tea Party would ever vote for Trump. How do I know? Trump is too much like Robert Clive of the EIC, and the Tea Party was *formed in response* to an absolute hatred for Robert Clive. Robert Clive was hired to look out for the interests of the shareholders in the EIC, and look out for their interests he did! Robert Clive was stationed at a tax port along the trade routes. (It was shocking to me to see how wealthy a few individuals became because they were at the right place at the right time.) Clive made it his mission to redistribute wealth, what is equivalent to tens of billions of today's dollars, from the locals to the pockets of the few elite shareholders in the EIC. The locals were already poor and found daily living a struggle. Clive's redistribution hit the locals even harder. As he lined the pockets of himself and the other shareholders, the locals starved to death around him. A full 1/3 of the population starved to death as the rich got markedly richer. There was a huge outcry. Articles strewn the paper, shaming Clive for his misdeeds. The people chastised him for allowing millions to starve to death while he and a chosen few enjoyed enormous wealth. When confronted, Clive took a "Who Me?" approach, stating that he was hired to look out for the shareholders, not the poor-- as if that would make it ok to knowingly line his pockets with the very money the locals needed to survive. The mass starvation had an extremely negative impact on the success of the very company from which Clive was making his living. It's sort of hard to have workers to do work when you let them all die. The loss of manpower resulted in bankruptcy for the EIC. What was a company to do? Easy, get a bailout! Where could they find the money for a bailout? That was a little more difficult. They pick pocketed the local Indian people into absolute devastation. So, they couldn't raise taxes on them. The people in England were already livid. It was decided they would raise the taxes on the colonist in America, who were already paying a higher tax rate. The colonists, then English subjects, said fuck that! And thus, the Tea Party was born. The Tea Party blocked passage of ships, stating that they refused to pay even more tax to a country that raped and pillaged everything they could from the people of India. The colonists felt certain EIC would do the same to them as they did to the people in India. With fury, when a few ships made it into the Boston Harbor, the Tea Partiers sunk the ship, saying they would rather see the tea at the bottom of the ocean than pay for the misdeeds of Clive and his fellow thieves. According to Frankopan, The powerful elite had "spread their tentacles" as far as they could, taking every resource they could. The colonists cut those greedy tentacles right off; and in doing so, America was born. I want to write about how a man named D'arcy struck oil and changed the way we fought wars and, in turn, changed the face of the world. But, this review is long enough already. I highly recommend you read it for yourself.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Inderjit Sanghera

    Frankopan's style is both engaging and informative as he offers an alternative view of history; one which concentrates on the importance and richness of 'Eastern' culture, society and ideas on history as opposed to the dominant Western-centric narrative.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Silvana

    This is not the history of the Silk Road. If you are looking for descriptions on the trade routes, system, goods, traders, trade journeys, etc, forget about it. The book focuses more on Western-based historical development as well as events. Totally not what I am looking for.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    I found this very interesting, dealing with a lot of complex issues in an interesting way. It did take me a while to get into though - I might have got more out of it reading it in book form not on audiobook.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gumble's Yard

    Hugely ambitious history of the world told very deliberately from a viewpoint centred on the areas of Central Asia, the Middle East and Southern Russia (and the trade routes that linked them) rather than the usual Eurocentric view and also written very much from a top down political/military/economic viewpoint of great people and events rather than as a social history. The book proceeds chronologically but with each chapter Road themed (the road to Furs, Revolution, Gold, Empire etc.) starting w Hugely ambitious history of the world told very deliberately from a viewpoint centred on the areas of Central Asia, the Middle East and Southern Russia (and the trade routes that linked them) rather than the usual Eurocentric view and also written very much from a top down political/military/economic viewpoint of great people and events rather than as a social history. The book proceeds chronologically but with each chapter Road themed (the road to Furs, Revolution, Gold, Empire etc.) starting with the rise of the Persian Empire and its interactions with Rome and then the founding of world faiths in the area. Particularly interesting sections are on the slave trade and the role of the Scandinavian Rus and the Mongols. With the discovery of America, Frankopan is clear that the centre of the world for the first time shifted decisively to Europe and even to Western Europe, but the focus shifts back to the East with the British Empire and the great game with Russia, leading in turn to the World Wars and then the American involvement in the Middle East which provides the last few chapters. The book clearly has huge levels of research and as far as possible quotes from contemporary and primary sources, it's also full of small nuggets of information and attempts to link ideas and developments across geographies. At all times the author looks to show the influence of his area on world events - US independence was due to Britain's over clumsy attempts to raise taxes to rescue the East India company, the First World War has as a key cause Britain's refusal to abandon Its Russian ally due to the threat it posed to the Raj, the German attack on the Soviet Union (and the preceding pact) were all around getting access to the grasslands of the Steppes. Overall a fascinating read, perhaps only weakened in the last chapter when the author proclaims the inevitable rise back to prominence of the area he champions due to the various Stans, in a manner which seems out of keeping with their corruption.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    The Silk Road. Just the very name conjures up images of travellers carrying expensive bolts of cloth, exotic spices and fine ceramics from the Far East to Europe. This road was more than that though, it was how the two separate domains of East and West first encountered each other, was the backdrop to countless wars, as power ebbed and flowed back and forth across the continent. The road has been responsible for the spread of numerous religions over millennia, not just the Abrahamic ones, but Bu The Silk Road. Just the very name conjures up images of travellers carrying expensive bolts of cloth, exotic spices and fine ceramics from the Far East to Europe. This road was more than that though, it was how the two separate domains of East and West first encountered each other, was the backdrop to countless wars, as power ebbed and flowed back and forth across the continent. The road has been responsible for the spread of numerous religions over millennia, not just the Abrahamic ones, but Buddhism and Zoroastrianism spread along the route. Great cities grew along the road, which spawned even greater cultures. Western countries have dominated the planet for the last 500 years but in this book he argues that most of these turning points in history have had some greater or lesser influence from the Silk Road in world history. Not sure I agree with all of the inferences, but I think that he is right in that the fulcrum is tilting world power away from the West and back to the East once again. It is a very detailed, huge, broad-brush view of world history seen through the prism of this ancient route from Europe to the Far East. I had hoped there would be more on the ancient history of place and people that trekked and made their lives from the Silk Road network; there wasn’t sadly, but it was still a good history of the world seen from this perspective. 3.5 Stars overall.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Radiantflux

    61st book for 2017. This book is all over the place. While I enjoyed sections of it (the discussion of slave markets in Central Europe was an eye opener), it lacked clear focus. You'd be forgiven for thinking that this would be a "new history of the silk roads", but it's not. It's mostly a story about European (predominantly England - France barely gets a mention - and later US and USSR) relations to Asia, but it jumps all over the place. Why on earth was their a whole chapter on Spain's conquest 61st book for 2017. This book is all over the place. While I enjoyed sections of it (the discussion of slave markets in Central Europe was an eye opener), it lacked clear focus. You'd be forgiven for thinking that this would be a "new history of the silk roads", but it's not. It's mostly a story about European (predominantly England - France barely gets a mention - and later US and USSR) relations to Asia, but it jumps all over the place. Why on earth was their a whole chapter on Spain's conquest of the Americas? The time between 15th-19th Centuries is barely mentioned, and then there is a longish (and misplaced) discussion of the US wars Iraq and Afghanistan near the end. The reader finishes with hardly any understanding of what formed the countries/peoples/cultures of Asia. Oh and China hardly rates a mention. Quite disappointing.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    What a beast of a book - in actual size, but also in the sheer volume of information and ideas contained within. A lively read (as far as history goes at least) The Silk Roads is a sweeping view of world history, covering particularly the rise, fall and rise of The East. From Persia to Rome, the Black Plague to the Renaissance and even recent events in the Middle East, it's amazing to see the repetition of themes and events throughout civilization. This should be required reading for any would-b What a beast of a book - in actual size, but also in the sheer volume of information and ideas contained within. A lively read (as far as history goes at least) The Silk Roads is a sweeping view of world history, covering particularly the rise, fall and rise of The East. From Persia to Rome, the Black Plague to the Renaissance and even recent events in the Middle East, it's amazing to see the repetition of themes and events throughout civilization. This should be required reading for any would-be journalist, politician, or business person looking to make a mark on the world stage. A definitely recommend with a warning that you should be prepared to take some time to get through it. I took a couple of breaks to read some fiction between, just to refresh my brain. 4 stars.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rodrigo Acuna

    "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 "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.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Diego

    I am genuinely upset this book had to end. This spans such a large time frame specific to Western China, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe; the original Silk Roads. Its very readable and unbiased. Virtually every page is full of history that leads to the next time frame. Very interesting this specific part of the world has been fought over since the Roman times to present day United States/Russian involvement. Nations are desperate for control or to prevent control of this resource rich land. I am genuinely upset this book had to end. This spans such a large time frame specific to Western China, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe; the original Silk Roads. Its very readable and unbiased. Virtually every page is full of history that leads to the next time frame. Very interesting this specific part of the world has been fought over since the Roman times to present day United States/Russian involvement. Nations are desperate for control or to prevent control of this resource rich land. I find it hard to believe stability and independent sustainability will be achieved. The future will likely see the continued tug-of-war for the new Silk Roads. Its a must read and now one of my favorites.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    This new take on the history of the world has set my head spinning. What's that you say, Peter Frankopan? The Holocaust came about because...of what? Food shortages in Russia? What? And Germany wasn't the only burly aggressor in World War II? Huh? And the center of the world hasn't always been Europe? What? If Peter Frankopan didn't have such sterling credentials, and if The Silk Roads hadn't been published by such an esteemed company as Knopf, I'd have set this book aside before I got very far This new take on the history of the world has set my head spinning. What's that you say, Peter Frankopan? The Holocaust came about because...of what? Food shortages in Russia? What? And Germany wasn't the only burly aggressor in World War II? Huh? And the center of the world hasn't always been Europe? What? If Peter Frankopan didn't have such sterling credentials, and if The Silk Roads hadn't been published by such an esteemed company as Knopf, I'd have set this book aside before I got very far into it. It's a revolutionary text, for me, and I must say that it has shifted all my thoughts of history on its axis, with the new equator squarely on the lands of the silk roads.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    This is a splendidly written history and spectacularly researched. This book is not really about the silk roads. A more accurate title would be “A History of the World with Persia at the Centre.” There is one particularly glaring omission. On pages 80-81, he portrays the dealings between the early Muslims and Jews as conciliatory, and talks about the alliance Muhammed had with the Jews of Medina. But crucially, he doesn’t mention what happened to those Jewish tribes. There was a brutal massacre This is a splendidly written history and spectacularly researched. This book is not really about the silk roads. A more accurate title would be “A History of the World with Persia at the Centre.” There is one particularly glaring omission. On pages 80-81, he portrays the dealings between the early Muslims and Jews as conciliatory, and talks about the alliance Muhammed had with the Jews of Medina. But crucially, he doesn’t mention what happened to those Jewish tribes. There was a brutal massacre That contradicts his narrative. If I were a cynic, I would say that this is akin to David Irving not mentioning the Holocaust his books. While the historicity of the massacre is in doubt, it was a story that was recorded multiple times and Muslims believe it to be true. That makes it very suspicious that Frankopan leaves such a detail out. (See In the Shadow of the Sword, page 388) There is a pithy quote on Hobbes, “Only a European author could have concluded that the natural state of man was to be in a constant state of violence, and only a European would have been right.” (page 261) He attributes the rise of European dominance to violence (page 260). But the European powers were not more violent than the previous Arab, Mongol and Ottoman conquests. The cases of Tamerlane and Genghis Khan give examples of extremely violent conquerors from outside Europe, and they demonstrate why violence cannot be used as an explanation for European dominance. Shaka can be placed in the same category, but he isn’t mentioned in this book. After Tamerlane died, there was a violent power struggle (page 197), which does not follow the notion of stability coming in the aftermath of the conquests as Frankopan says. Furthermore, the European powers spent more time fighting each other than they did in places outside of Europe. While the author is a Byzantine specialist, there isn’t a whole lot on the Byzantine empire. It seems that Frankopan has an axe to grind because of the way he learned history in school, as he mentions in the preface. However, Frankopan’s theories are less convincing than the ones put forth by Ian Morris in Why The West Rules , which does exactly what the title says. The account of the coup in Iran, 1953 is one of the highlights (Chapter 21). Should you read this book, I recommend you read it alongside Civilization by Niall Ferguson.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emma Sea

    Although the book is not written well I found the last 2 chapters gripping, and they gave me a much better understanding about the situation in the Middle East now. Three stars: would have been more is the book didn't feel like such a list of events with little personality or character

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.