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, and it was the appetites for foreign goods that drove economies and the growth of nations. From the first cities in Mesopotamia to the emergence of Greece and Rome to the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death, the struggles of the Great Game, and the fall of Communism - the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East.
By way of events as disparate as the American Revolution and the world wars of the 20th century, Peter Frankopan realigns the world, orienting us eastward and illuminating how even the rise of the West 500 years ago resulted from its efforts to gain access to and control of 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.
"What does history look like if we shift our focus eastward and give due prominence to those who traversed the Silk Roads? This is the question Frankopan answers in this immensely entertaining work. Many books have been written which claim to be 'A New History of the World'. This one fully deserves the title.... So ambitious, so detailed and so fascinating...The Silk Roads demonstrates why studying history is so important." [Gerard DeGroot, The Times (UK)]
"It's time we recognized the importance of the East to our history, insists this magnificent study.... The breadth and ambition of this swashbuckling history by Peter Frankopan should come as no surprise.... 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.... Deftly constructed.... The Silk Roads is a powerful corrective to parochialism." [Justin Marozzi, The Sunday Times (UK)]
"A book of dazzling range, ambition, and achievement." (William Dalrymple)
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Anything east of where you are
Western history, but no more
- Aaron Taylor