Review of 'The Silk Roads: A New History of the World'

The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan

the_silk_roads.jpg The rather long and weighty “The Silk Roads” brings to light a new way of looking at modern history in how it was largely driven by the east withthe literal and metaphorical “The Silk Roads” transporting goods and new ways of thinking to the west. This is a refreshing and intriguing premise that Frankopan convincingly details starting thousands of years ago and taking us right up to recent events following the Gulf War. Each lengthy chapter is framed on a specific aspect of each part of the history largely in chronographic order accompanied by copious footnotes that take up 94 pages at the end of the book as well as two sections of colour illustrations and a number of maps (with so much detail and such a small scale they are almost illegible in the paperback version of the book).

I found it particularly interesting hearing history from a different perspective that “shows the other side” of the stories and seeing the justification or reasons behind many of the big historical events such as the two world wars and the rise of the middle east after the discovery of oil. To be fair, my knowledge of world history is sketchy at best but even I can see how this is quite a different viewpoint that paints the west in a quite unappealing light…and justifiably so…but at the same time the east does not get off lightly either with what feels to be a fairly balanced narrative by Frankopan.

Yes, it took me more than a month to read which is quite unheard of but I wanted to make sure I followed, as much as I could, what was going on and restricting myself to a maximum of one (long) chapter a day. Even so, this did not help and I was quickly overwhelmed by detail but I have to say Frankopan is an excellent writer and really did help bring everything to life and made it a lot more human with an easy-going writing style that throws in the occasional interesting anecdote to keep things interesting.

An amazing book for those interesting in understanding how we got to where we are. It needs some patience but this bears fruit in a much more balanced world view that we have been fed throughout our lives.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2022-07-31

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: 2015

ISBN: 9781408839997