The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan
A New History of the World

78%

5 Critic Reviews

Frankopan intends his book to be, in the first instance, a contribution to historical scholarship. Yet it may provide ammunition in a contemporary political battle.
-Financial Times

Synopsis

“This is history on a grand scale, with a sweep and ambition that is rare… A proper historical epic of dazzling range and achievement.” —William Dalrymple, The Guardian 
 
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.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Peter Frankopan

See more books from this Author
PETER FRANKOPAN is a leading 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 by Penguin Classics in 2009.
Author Residence: Oxford, United Kingdom
Author Hometown: London
 
Published February 16, 2016 by Vintage. 657 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Science & Math, Education & Reference, Biographies & Memoirs, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Law & Philosophy, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Silk Roads
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Nov 01 2015

Drawing on prodigious sources, Frankopan...director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research, creates a sweeping, fascinating chronicle of world history focused on trade—in silk, spices, furs, gold, silver, slaves, and religion—in a vast region from the Mediterranean’s eastern shores to the Himalayas.

Read Full Review of The Silk Roads: A New History... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Anthony Sattin on Sep 29 2015

...if you have any first-hand experience of some of Frankopan’s centre of the world, his belief that it is rising again might seem overly optimistic. But none of that takes away from the importance of the project. As the power of the west wanes, so history needs to be rewritten.

Read Full Review of The Silk Roads: A New History... | See more reviews from Guardian

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Robert Davis on Mar 30 2016

Descriptive words like "epic" and "engrossing" do not seem enough. The maps and choice of illustrations are up to the high standards of the scholarship, text, and thought in Silk Roads.

Read Full Review of The Silk Roads: A New History... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Financial Times

Above average
Reviewed by Ramachandra Guha on Apr 15 2016

Frankopan intends his book to be, in the first instance, a contribution to historical scholarship. Yet it may provide ammunition in a contemporary political battle.

Read Full Review of The Silk Roads: A New History... | See more reviews from Financial Times

The Economist

Above average
on Aug 22 2015

Yet by spinning all these stories into a single thread, Peter Frankopan attempts something bold...Mr Frankopan writes with clarity and memorable detail.

Read Full Review of The Silk Roads: A New History... | See more reviews from The Economist

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