The Silk Roads: A New History of the World (Paperback)Peter Frankopan (author)
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The halfway point between east and west… While such countries may seem wild to us, these are no backwaters, no obscure wastelands. In fact the bridge between east and west is the very crossroads of civilisation. Far from being on the fringe of global affairs, these countries lie at its very centre – as they have done since the beginning of history.
How is it that the places that in the earliest cartography were placed at the centre of the world are now almost impossible to locate on modern maps?
Peter Frankopan considers how as western readers of history, our understanding of the world is shaped by the narrow focus on western Europe and the United States and accounts of history that preferences ‘the winners of recent history.’
Thoroughly researched and gracefully written, The Silk Roads is an antidote to these Eurocentric accounts, examining several continents and centuries and the factors that influenced the flow of ideas and goods.
In The Guardian William Dalrymple enthusiastically revealed: ‘He show[s] how the belt of territory between China and Constantinople was for much of history the centre of the world, and a place from which we drew so much of what has come to be regarded as “western civilisation”… I learned the Chinese were the first to use toilet paper; that the “exceedingly savage” Huns wore robes made of field mice… that the Roman emperor Diocletian’s proudest achievement was the size of his cabbages.’
Closing his Washington Post review of The Silk Roads, S. Frederick Starr, fellow author and chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University concludes: ‘Its great strength is that is focuses squarely and consistently on trade as the great engine of integration across the region. One may bristle, or smile, at some of his biases and eccentricities, but in the end he does us all a great service.’
Frankopan is a multilingual Oxford Byzantist who with The Silk Roads epically adds to his crusades-heavy bibliography, writing a 650-page history of the world from the point of view of east-west interaction, the Middle East and Asia firmly at its centre.
‘This epic book traces the cycle of human creation and destruction along the Silk Roads, now rich in billions of dollars’ worth of oil, minerals and labour. We must learn to pass along them without glancing greedily from side to side to gauge what we can gain. One alternative is to travel in the privacy of our own minds – an opportunity this charismatic and essential book amply provides.’ – The Telegraph
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 656
Weight: 472 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
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 *
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 *
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 *
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) *
Beautifully constructed, a terrific and exhilarating read and a new perspective on world history -- Averil Cameron * History Today *
As well-written, entertaining, disturbing and exciting as a detective story * Svenska Dagbladet *
A dazzling piece of historical writing * South China Morning Post *
This book lives up to its claim to be a new history of the world because of its geopolitical paradigm shift ... He is a Herodotus of the twenty first century * Irish Left Review *
Monumental...prodigious...astonishing. Frankopan is an exhilarating companion for the journey along the routes which conveyed silk, slaves, ideas, religion, and disease, and around which today may hang the destiny of the world * Vanity Fair *
An exceptional storyteller ... Frankopan does a superb job of explaining the history that has led to this modern era of new Silk Roads running across "the spine of Asia."... Frankopan's book will be indispensable to anyone who wants to make sense of this union of past and present * Dallas Morning News *
Sumptuous, intriguing and surprising -- Sir Paddy Ashdown
`A big book like this would have taken the whole year to read if I had followed up every reference that piqued my interest' -- Readers' Books of the Year 2016 * Guardian *
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“Changing the Focus of World History”
With an inspiring range of storytelling this re-balances world history much further east than we are used to. It's a wonderful achievement.
“The Silk Roads”
Great read. History as it should be written. If you are interested in history or not, this is a book that should be read. Super narrative and well researched.
“Wel written and informative - interesting read.”
Just thought I'd pick this up on the by as am studying exchange of high status goods between the Indian Subcontinent and Medieval Central Europe.
Gives pause for thought and well researched, I enjoyed reading it.
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