Synopses & Reviews
Upending the traditional narrative of Western enlightenment and world domination as the inevitable descendants of Greek and Roman intellectual ferment Oxford historian Frankopan (The First Crusade) places the silk roads—the long remote Central Asian trading routes linking Europe and China—at the center of human history. The silk roads served as conduits for goods and ideas as well as plagues and marauding armies and their location at the nexus of Europe and Asia continues to drive world events today. Frankopan casts his net widely in this work of dizzying breadth and ambition. Casual readers may struggle to follow all the threads; those opening to any page will find fascinating insights that illuminate elusive connections across time and place. Frankopan’s thoughts on Islam for instance begin with newly discovered “wisps of text” that are reshaping understanding of Muhammad’s life and stretch across centuries to the modern luxuries of the “oil soaked” Middle East. The Black Plague—carried west by the Mongols—devastated Europe and the Middle East but “the plague turned out to be the catalyst for social and economic change that was so profound that far from marking the death of Europe it served as its making.” Frankopan approaches his craft with an acerbic wit and his epochal perspective throws the foibles of the modern age into sharp relief. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
This is history on a grand scale, with a sweep and ambition that is rare Aproper 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."