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.
The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I learned so much. I enjoyed it as an audiobook, narrated by Laurence Kennedy, who was excellent, sounded like the old nature shows, the ones my grandparents used to watch, the cheetah getting ready to pounce on a zebra and you just stayed glued, the cadence of a voice that is easy to follow. I’d recommend this to anyone.
It’s as informative as the premise, starting with where the East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures and religions, expanding on each notion to full extent of what was going on at the time, perception, and what was hoped for the future.
I felt like I could have easily expanded on my reading experience by having my computer open to Wikipedia, where each hyperlinked word and place could have easily led to an entire day of looking up more of one thing or another.
I like the balance of chronology and supportive context. Sometimes though it was too much of an intermix to where the chronology seemed to be out of order. I had to rewind it a few times to gain what time period it was initially referring to. Also some parts were a bit dry could have used more description and references of the senses or something to keep it a bit more lively. I still learned a lot though.
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