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The Silk Roads
Cover of The Silk Roads
The Silk Roads
A New History of the World
Borrow Borrow
From the rise and fall of empires in China, Persia, and Rome itself to the spread of Buddhism and advent of Christianity and Islam, right up to Western imperialism and the great wars of the twentieth century, this epic, magisterial work illuminates how the Silk Roads-the crossroads of the world, the meeting place of East and West-perhaps more than anything else, shaped global history over the past two millennia. It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures, and religions, and it was the appetites for foreign goods that drove economies and the growth of nations. From the first cities in Mesopotamia to the emergence of Greece and Rome to the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death, the struggles of the Great Game, and the fall of Communism, the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East. By way of events as disparate as the American Revolution and the world wars of the twentieth century, Peter Frankopan realigns the world, orienting us eastward, and illuminating how even the rise of the West five hundred years ago resulted from its efforts to gain access to and control of these Eurasian trading networks. In an increasingly globalized planet, where current events in Asia and the Middle East dominate the world's attention, this magnificent work of history is very much a work of our times.
From the rise and fall of empires in China, Persia, and Rome itself to the spread of Buddhism and advent of Christianity and Islam, right up to Western imperialism and the great wars of the twentieth century, this epic, magisterial work illuminates how the Silk Roads-the crossroads of the world, the meeting place of East and West-perhaps more than anything else, shaped global history over the past two millennia. It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures, and religions, and it was the appetites for foreign goods that drove economies and the growth of nations. From the first cities in Mesopotamia to the emergence of Greece and Rome to the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death, the struggles of the Great Game, and the fall of Communism, the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East. By way of events as disparate as the American Revolution and the world wars of the twentieth century, Peter Frankopan realigns the world, orienting us eastward, and illuminating how even the rise of the West five hundred years ago resulted from its efforts to gain access to and control of these Eurasian trading networks. In an increasingly globalized planet, where current events in Asia and the Middle East dominate the world's attention, this magnificent work of history is very much a work of our times.
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  • AudioFile Magazine Frankopan's sweeping and idiosyncratic history of "the heart of the world" expands the European view of history to show how that continent is connected culturally to the Middle East and to China. Laurence Kennedy is a solid narrator. His pacing is slow but always clear, and his voice is deep and pleasant to listen to. He works hard to master the names of the people and places of central Asia, although his Russian pronunciation is a little weak. His cultured British accent suits Frankopan's Oxford vocabulary and English outlook. The book is not a history from an East Asian or even Middle Eastern point of view. Instead, the author makes an effort to connect broader causes to traditional formulations of Eurocentric history over the last 2,000 years. F.C. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 21, 2015
    Upending the traditional narrative of Western enlightenment and world domination as the inevitable descendants of Greek and Roman intellectual ferment, Oxford historian Frankopan (The First Crusade) places the silk roads—the long, remote Central Asian trading routes linking Europe and China—at the center of human history. The silk roads served as conduits for goods and ideas as well as plagues and marauding armies, and their location at the nexus of Europe and Asia continues to drive world events today. Frankopan casts his net widely in this work of dizzying breadth and ambition. Casual readers may struggle to follow all the threads; those opening to any page will find fascinating insights that illuminate elusive connections across time and place. Frankopan’s thoughts on Islam, for instance, begin with newly discovered “wisps of text” that are reshaping understanding of Muhammad’s life and stretch across centuries to the modern luxuries of the “oil-soaked” Middle East. The Black Plague—carried west by the Mongols—devastated Europe and the Middle East, but “the plague turned out to be the catalyst for social and economic change that was so profound that far from marking the death of Europe, it served as its making.” Frankopan approaches his craft with an acerbic wit, and his epochal perspective throws the foibles of the modern age into sharp relief.

  • Library Journal

    May 1, 2016

    Frankopan (director, Centre for Byzantine Research, Oxford Univ.; The First Crusade) is one of the world's foremost experts on the silk roads, the crossroads of the world that brought together Eastern and Western civilizations. His lifetime of research on the rise and fall of multiple empires, the spread of and interaction among Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, and his understanding of the markets, economies, landscapes, and politics around the world have much to teach the reader about the ways in which East and West have become globalized. He offers a true vision of the world as a melting pot. Laurence Kennedy's reading is vivid and engaging. VERDICT This audiobook is recommended for listeners who love history and are interested in economics and politics. ["Will engage and inform readers looking for historical underpinnings of long-festering conflicts among nations, cultures, and religions": LJ 1/16 review of the Knopf hc.]--Pam Kingsbury, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Gerard DeGroot, The Times (U.K.) What does history look like if we shift our focus eastward and give due prominence to those who traversed the Silk Roads? This is the question Frankopan answers in this immensely entertaining work. Many books have been writtenwhich claim to be "A New History of the World". This one fully deserves the title...So ambitious, so detailed and so fascinating...The Silk Roads demonstrates why studying history is so important.
  • Justin Marozzi, The Sunday Times (U.K.) It's time we recognized the importance of the East to our history, insists this magnificent study...The breadth and ambition of this swashbuckling history by Peter Frankopan should come as no surprise...A book that roves as widely as the geography it describes, encompassing worlds as far removed as those of Herodotus and Saddam Hussein, Hammurabi and Hitler...It is a tribute to Frankopan's scholarship and mastery of sources in multiple languages that he is as sure-footed on the ancient world as he is on the medieval and modern...Deftly constructed...The Silk Roads is a powerful corrective to parochialism.
  • William Dalrymple A book of dazzling range, ambition and achievement.
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The Silk Roads
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A New History of the World
Peter Frankopan
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