The Silk Roads ★★★★☆

The Silk Roads: A New History of the World (Illustrated Edition)
Peter Frankopan, illustrated by Neil Packer

Genre(s) | history, nonfiction 
Goodreads Rating | 4.25
Humpo Show Rating | 4.10 
Published: 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury

A clear and concise reassessment of world history, The Silk Roads is a wonderful exploration of the events, people, movements and forces that have played an important role in the rise and fall of empires, determined the flow of ideas and goods and are now heralding a new dawn in international affairs.

The aim for Silk Roads was to shine a light on the historical route between East and West, Asia and Europe, and to forego the usual versions espoused by Europeans and Americans, which are widely prevalent.

Frankopan has written a lively book that covers everything from Ancient Persia and the Byzantine Empire, to the Renaissance and the slave trade, as well as evens following the second world war and even recent events in the Middle East, the repetition of themes and events throughout civilization. He writes without bias, while remaining faithful to the facts.

I can’t really fault this edition of the book – others are available – as the essential history of the world is contained within the 128 pages. There is also some fantastic illustrations from Neil Packer – above is the Golden Age for Baghdad. I studied Islam in the Modern World at university, and we comprehensively covered the history of the Muslim world including the Sack of Baghdad, so the illustration above helped to shape my prior knowledge further.

I particularly enjoyed the maps in the book – the others are very good at showing trade routes, etc – but my favourite is the one regarding the twentieth century wars in Europe.

Silk Roads is fantastic history book, which can be read by both adults and children. It is clear, simple and easy to read. The comprehensive nature ensures that you read about countries and events that aren’t usually covered in Western classrooms.

The Humpo Show | Richard


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