The Silk Roads: A New History of the World Paperback – 2 Jun 2016
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Many books have been written which claim to be "A New History of the World". This one fully deserves the title.It is difficult, in a short review, to do justice to a book so ambitious, so detailed and so fascinating as this one (Gerald DeGroot The Times 2015-08-08)
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 (Justin Marozzi Sunday Times 2015-08-09)
My book of the year: history on a grand scale, with a sweep of ambition that is rare ... A remarkable book on many levels, and one that anyone would have been proud to write: a proper historical epic of dazzling range, ambition and achievement (William Dalrymple Observer)
The most illuminating book of the year ... A healthy antidote to Eurocentric accounts of history (Books of the Year Times Literary Supplement)
Splendid ... tightly researched ... invigorating and profound with enough storytelling to excite the reader and enough fresh scholarship to satisfy the intellect...charismatic and essential (Bettany Hughes Daily Telegraph 2015-08-15)
A rare book that makes you question your assumptions about the world (Wall Street Journal)
Dazzlingly good (Evening Standard)
Based on astonishingly wide and deep reading and in all areas draws on the latest research... It is full of vivid and recondite details (Independent 2015-08-15)
Full of intriguing insights and fascinating details (Observer)
With extraordinary erudition and a vivid style, he takes us on a dazzling tour of these parts from the rise of the first empires right through to the present (Open (Weekly))
The No. 1 Sunday Times and international bestseller - a major reassessment of world history in light of the economic and political renaissance in the re-emerging eastSee all Product description
From the Publisher
Drawing on a rich series of sources in Greek, Latin, French, Italian, German, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Russian, Arabic, Turkish, Persian, Hebrew, Syriac and Chinese, The Silk Roads provides a major re-assessment of world history from antiquity to the modern day.
The Silk Roads: A New History of the World
The region of the Silk Roads is obscure to many in the English-speaking world. Yet the region linking East with West is where civilisation itself began, where the world's great religions were born and took root, where goods were exchanged, and where languages, ideas and disease spread.
The Silk Roads were no exotic series of connections, but networks that linked continents and oceans together. They were - and still are - one of the world's central nervous system. This is 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.
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International trade has enriched us in the West and made the elites in other corners of the world very wealthy but with that wealth comes exploitation, inequality and the great games of empires who seek advantage at the expense of human lives.
There are no answers here but there are lessons. We are all connected, and interdependent .
It would certainly get 5 stars, or 5+ if that were possible, but for one striking omission. Despite having several potentially very useful maps (possibly 9 or 10, all full-page or double-page) there is no index of maps. So unless you either have a superlative memory for page numbers, or maintain a written index as you go, the maps are virtually useless. This hugely detracts from the enjoyment of a book centred on a region most of us know little about, and where constant reference to maps would vastly enhance understanding. So small an omission, and yet so great.
He places central asia as the fountainhead of world history. Huns, Vandals, Turks, Seljuks, Moghals, Mongels come streaming out to east and west. Some of the later chapters, about the duplicity of the 'Great Powers' in middle-eastern affairs, make uncomfortable reading.
If I have a complaint, I would have liked an explanation of why the steppes of central asia are such a cradle of expansionist, violent hordes.