The Silk Roads

The Silk Roads

A New History of the World

Book - 2016
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Random House, Inc.
“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.

Baker & Taylor
Looks at how the Asian Silk Roads have acted as a crucible of culture throughout history, capturing the importance of these networks that linked the Atlantic with the Pacific, the Mediterranean with India, and America with the Persian Gulf.

& Taylor

From the rise and fall of empires in China, Persia and Rome itself to the great wars of the twentieth century, this epic, magisterial work illuminates how the Silk Roads—the crossroads of the world, the meeting place of East and West—perhaps more than anything else, shaped global history over the past two millennia.
"Our world was made on and by the Silk Roads. For millennia it was here that East and West encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas and cultures, the birth of the world's great religions, the appetites for foreigngoods that drove economies and the growth of nations. From the first cities in Mesopotamia to the growth of Greece and Rome to the depredations by the Mongols and the Black Death to the Great Game and the fall of Communism, the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East. The Silk Roads vividly captures the importance of the networks that crisscrossed the spine of Asia and linked the Atlantic with the Pacific, the Mediterranean with India, America with the Persian Gulf. By way of events as disparate as the American Revolution and the horrific world wars of the twentieth century, Peter Frankopan realigns the world, orientating us eastwards, and illuminating how even the rise of the West 500 years ago resulted from its efforts to gain access to and control these Eurasian trading networks. In an increasingly globalized planet, where current events in Asia and the Middle East dominate the world's attention, this magnificent work of history is very much a work of our times"--

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2016, c2015
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9781101946329
Branch Call Number: 909 FRA
Characteristics: xix, 645 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill. (some col.), maps, ports. ;,25 cm.


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Sep 11, 2018

My rating of 3 stars pertains only to the first 10 chapters, which deals with an era and a part of the world that has otherwise been poorly covered and inadequately studied in most of our popular histories, which have been overly Eurocentric. Once Frankopan comes to the voyages of discovery of the late 15th century, the focus of civilization shifted from looking to the east-facing to west-facing; at that point, the book also loses its uniqueness. The literary device of investigating a series of "roads", when carried forward into the modern era no longer works. I quickly lost interest from that point onward.
That said, the first half of the book has great merit and makes for fascinating reading, particularly in its investigation of the complex economic relationships that evolved as trade routes shifted, complicated by the successive waves of religious change along with the rise and decay of empires.

Apr 23, 2018

What a quality (and necessary) book. Most of us have been taught history in two distinct categories - ancient, encompassing Egypt, Greece, and Rome; and western modern history, Western Europe and the Americas beginning with the Renaissance.

While allusions were made to history occurring outside these two focal areas, such allusions were seldom fleshed out to give an understanding of these events.

This author shifts the focus to the Near East, Middle East, and Central Asia and reminds us that economics drives politics, as does the reverse.
Throughout history, he informs us, this area has functioned as an economic highway for goods, services, religions, and most recently, national resources. It has played a significant role in nearly all notable events, in one way or another, and yet our textbooks marginalize it or limit it to a few dates to memorize.

The scholarship here is impressive. Liberal use is made of original source materials. Nearly 150 pages are required to cite all the sources! All of the author's opinions are plausible and well-grounded in the source materials.

Highly recommended.

Jul 11, 2017

For history lovers this is a must read (and have...I now own my own copy).

SPL_Shauna Oct 25, 2016

Silk Roads is an elegant 5000 year history of Europe and Asia. Frankopan uses an economic lens to analyse the shifts in power between Europe and Asia through the rise and fall of several empires, ending with what looks economically to be the decline of the American empire.

The prose is predominantly approachable but does veer into the academic. Still, for the sheer scope of the work, and for the light it imparts on current relations with Russia, China and countries in the Middle East, this book is invaluable to anyone interested in current events. Highly recommended.

Jul 31, 2016

I recommend this book because most of us are so ignorant of history. The author does make sweeping generalizations which can be misleading though--especially in regard to backwardness of medieval Europe and the glories of Islamic civilization. His chapter on "The Slave Road" should be must reading for all Americans. If you read nothing else read that. It will surprise you.

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