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The Silk Roads: Book summary and reviews of The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan

The Silk Roads

A New History of the World

by Peter Frankopan

The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan X
The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan
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Book Summary

The epic history of the crossroads of the world - the meeting place of East and West and the birthplace of civilization.

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. From the rise and fall of empires to the spread of Buddhism and the advent of Christianity and Islam, right up to the great wars of the twentieth century - this book shows how the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East.

Peter Frankopan realigns our understanding of the world, pointing us eastward. He vividly re-creates the emergence of the first cities in Mesopotamia and the birth of empires in Persia, Rome and Constantinople, as well as the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death and the violent struggles over Western imperialism. Throughout the millennia, it was the appetite for foreign goods that brought East and West together, driving economies and the growth of nations.

From the Middle East and its political instability to China and its economic rise, the vast region stretching eastward from the Balkans across the steppe and South Asia has been thrust into the global spotlight in recent years. Frankopan teaches us that to understand what is at stake for the cities and nations built on these intricate trade routes, we must first understand their astounding pasts. Far more than a history of the Silk Roads, this book is truly a revelatory new history of the world, promising to destabilize notions of where we come from and where we are headed next.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A vastly rich historical tapestry that puts ongoing struggles in a new perspective." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Frankopan approaches his craft with an acerbic wit, and his epochal perspective throws the foibles of the modern age into sharp relief." - Publishers Weekly

"Even though Frankopan's interpretation of history may raise some eyebrows, his vivid imagery will engage and inform readers looking for historical underpinnings of long-festering conflicts among nations, cultures, and religions." - Library Journal

"This invigorating and profound book has enough storytelling to excite the reader and enough fresh scholarship to satisfy the intellect... Charismatic and essential." - Bettany Hughes, The Daily Telegraph (U.K) 

"Book of the Week. 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." - Gerard DeGroot, The Times (U.K.)

"This is, to put it mildly, an ambitious book... By spinning all these stories into a single thread, Peter Frankopan attempts something bold: A history of the world that shunts the centre of gravity eastward." - The Economist

"The Silk Roads, which covers several continents and many centuries, is based on astonishingly wide and deep reading and in all areas draws on the latest research… It is full of vivid and recondite details." - Robert Irwin, The Independent (U.K) 

"Deftly constructed… The Silk Roads is a powerful corrective to parochialism." - Justin Marozzi, The Sunday Times (U.K.)

The information about The Silk Roads shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Peter Frankopan

Peter Frankopan is a historian based at Oxford University. He is the author of The First Crusade: The Call from the East, a major monograph about Byzantium, Islam and the West in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. He is a senior research fellow at Worcester College, Oxford, and the director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research at Oxford University. His revised translation of The Alexiad was published in the United States in 2009.

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