The Silk Roads

The Silk Roads

A New History of the World

Book - 2016 | First American edition.
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"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 foreign goods 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"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.
Edition: First American edition.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781101912379
Branch Call Number: 909 FRA
Characteristics: xix, 645 pages :,colour illustrations


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Nov 29, 2018

This book was okay. I think the premise was better than the delivery, though. The author makes a good point about focusing on non-European civilizations but then glosses over huge swathes of territory and history, and then gets bogged down on minutiae for certain other times and places. Reading the entry on "Silk Road" in Wikipedia is about as informative and is far more succinct. And the author's gushing reveries about the rise of China and its One Belt One Road scheme is a bit chilling, at least to this reader.

Nov 24, 2018

This is an enjoyable reading to see the world evolve based mostly on European perspective, from pre-Roman days to present. By that I mean there is much less on The Silk Roads that were in American Continent or the Far East Continents. The book tells the history with a theme based on the proverbial Silk Roads, i.e. trading that brings the rise and fall of European countries, the rise of America, and a brief mention of the New Silk Road that is evolving. If humanity does not pay attention to history, it will do itself in with hundreds of millions of life lost (for the fortunate ones) and damaged (for the less fortunate ones to continue living).

Nov 11, 2018

This book is filled with so much historical information of which I was ignorant, that it was like rediscovering world history. Fascinating facts emerged during the centuries, which gave a huge overview of how events progressed into the modern world. One thing I took away from this book is that the lust for power, greed and violence has changed very little over the millennia.
The authors approach appeared to be mostly objective, highlighting actions taken by various countries as directly relating to events that transpire down the road. Foreign policy decisions have been badly flawed by numerous countries throughout the years.

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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