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Summary

The sun is setting on the Western world. Slowly but surely, the direction in which the world spins has reversed: where for the last five centuries the globe turned westward on its axis, it now turns to the east.... For centuries fame and fortune were to be found in the West - in the New World of the Americas. Today it is the East that calls out to those in search of adventure and riches. The region stretching from Eastern Europe and sweeping right across Central Asia, deep into China and India, is taking center stage in international politics, commerce, and culture - and is shaping the modern world. This region, the true center of the Earth, is obscure to many in the English-speaking world. Yet this is where civilization itself began, where the world's great religions were born and took root. The Silk Roads were no exotic series of connections but networks that linked continents and oceans together. Along them flowed ideas, goods, disease, and death. This was where empires were won - and where they were lost. As a new era emerges, the patterns of exchange are mirroring those that have criss-crossed Asia for millennia. The Silk Roads are rising again. A major reassessment of world history, The Silk Roads is an important account of the forces that have shaped the global economy and the political renaissance in the reemerging East.

©2015 Peter Frankopan (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Poor reading.

I don't know what limitations are placed on the reader or whether enough time is allowed for proper preparation but the recording is peppered throughout with poor text interpretation. It is as though no prep has been carried out; phrasing and inflection is misplaced as though the reader has been taken by surprise with each emerging clause. The narrative is marred by this, however competent the writer may be.

36 of 39 people found this review helpful

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History that is as entertaining as it is educating

What made the experience of listening to The Silk Roads the most enjoyable?

For me this is highly personal, as most of the listening I did while in Istanbul, so I was situated in one of the prime locations mentioned in the earlier sections of the book. But on a less 'contextual' level, I found listening to extremely well written history that assumed the reader/listener was intelligent but not an expert a true pleasure.

What did you like best about this story?

That Frankopan, as usual, manages to tie everything together in a cohesive manner.

Did Laurence Kennedy do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

No. The attempt at different voices and accents was cringeworthy. I realise that he was trying to differentiate when he was reading a direct quote but sometimes he bordered on offensive or racist, or downright silly.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No but I did very much enjoy it.

Any additional comments?

While I know this kind of book is not for everyone, I very much hope a lot of people listen to or read it.

40 of 45 people found this review helpful

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Time, the creation of gods, the needs of commerce

Hammurabi is mention at the very beginning (1810 - 1750 BC) of this incredible expansive and ambitious book, taking us through the ages and arriving to very recent history, opening doors and unapologetically exposing the interest and machinations of power, clearly coldly; because this world is dog eat dog world, and if you are not the powerful you are the weak and the meek and this history will tell you what that really means, and what happens over and over when you are not ready to survive and be the the alfa, in what is a feast of accumulated records and knowledge with refreshing bluntness and honesty.

Every culture is ethnocentric and sees the world from their particular perspective, this book tries to expand on that representation of reality and advances a few truth that will make many cringe, with its dispassionate presentation of the evolution of religion and influences of one religion on one another and how they borrow for the convenience or promotion in their constituency and how inevitably they attach themselves to governments and nationalistic needs. It explains how the cross pollination of cultures and ideas and the influence of markets, money,commerce, influence the applications of power, belief and morality; throughout the centuries.

It will dispel the filling that globalisation is a new construct, but that it is a two thousand year old reality, that has persisted and adapted through everything, because it distributes wealth and the goods we desire to flavour our food dress our bodies to exchange ideas, create gods and alliances to feed the one true power the market, the global market.

Without the jingoism of nationalism and a more global view of economies the writer changes the perspective of nationalism, to the market interests as the real force behind all realms, striping most of the prevarication and artifacts that makes as believe in a moral, or racial superiority, to oil the needs of power and government to maintain revenue flowing and advantages for the rulers in place in what is a millennial game of chess.

If you like history this is a feast that will open your appetite, and clear your mind to regard history with a new reverence, without romanticism or heroism, just a fascinating human history, and its naked motivations.

The narrator of this book is excellent and adds color and interest to a great story.

88 of 106 people found this review helpful

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Dreadful!

This was appalling! The book may be better than I realise, but the narration was so bad, it was difficult to see past that and appreciate the content. I was so disappointed as I wanted to gain an understanding of this part of the World that is so poorly understood by the West. The pretentious (and sometimes erroneous?) pronunciations made me cringe and the narrators intermittent and apparently random use of pantomime foreign accents bordered on the racist. I gave up after the first 2 chapters from which I learnt absolutely nothing.

27 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Gets much better throughout

The book sets out with the noble aim of rewriting the history of the world from a brand new, different perspective based around what happened in central Asia, rather than being Eurocentric. However the first half of the book utterly fails to do this, as it is just the same old history of ancient Europe we've heard countless times. However it improves hugely by the middle ages and suddenly its perspective finally becomes about trade, and features bits of history new to me. The final quarter is by the far the best, the history of oil in the middle east, as this was the only section that was completely novel to me.

So persevere, and it ends up being quite a good book!

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Not so much about the east

I was hoping to hear about eastern history linked with the silk roads. But this is the same old western history with just a bit of focus on silk roads with huge focuses on world wars and all. If I need a chronological western history, I would choose another book. So this one is neither here nor there. Disappointing.

31 of 39 people found this review helpful

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I couldn't get into it, perhaps it's for reading

I was struggling to focus even though I was interested in the topic. The promise of eastern perspective didn't shine through, it's still seemed quite a western European perspective. Perhaps it gets better but I think this one will be better to read than it is to listen. And I'll read it instead.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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A Must Read for people interested in modern global politics.

What a wonderful comprehensive portrait of the Middle East through the centuries! So much becomes clear when you consider the history in terms of "big picture" interpretation. This book will appeal to scholars and lay people alike. Excellent read.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Poorly narrated

The narrator reads this book in a very stumbling manner. Makes it difficult to listen at times.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Interesting.... But

The book is great and full of illuminating insights into current Middle East situation but the reader was poor and his emphasis often wrong

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Warren
  • 13-03-16

Amazing insight

Best book I have read with the last chapter pulling it all together. This book is a detailed look into the past that has a striking relevance to today.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-11-18

Redefining the Silk Roads story

I really thoroughly enjoyed this book - especially the last few chapters concerning WW 2 and the creation of Iraq/Iran. The author touches on aspects of WW 1 and WW 2 that I was not even aware of and throws new light on many aspects of modern history that tie themselves all the way back to the creation of the original Silk Routes. The author highlights the scale of involvement and interference of the British, the French, the Russians and the Americans in the affairs of the Middle East and surrounding areas which is staggering in its scale of treachery and deceit. And at the heart of all of it - the quest for oil, wheat and more oil.

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  • Joshua Smith
  • 21-09-18

great history book, with a grand vision.

Amazing book, with a grand vision, however conclusions at time seem to skim on details.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-09-18

Read this! Especially Americans.

At first this seems like a re-telling of largely known facts on global history, however, Franko pan weaves a brilliantly evocative and detailed tapestry of the Middle East and Central Asia from the "Dark Ages" to modern times. The role of the UK and USA in modern times in this region is eye opening and essential reading for anyone who wants to understand global politics and recent history.

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  • MICHAEL LYONS
  • 22-07-18

Should be compulsory reading for all school students

As a history livery I found this a Fantastic book, content and narration superb, highly recommend

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  • John
  • 18-06-18

Impressively expansive, well worth a read

The breath of history that this book sets out to cover is truly impressive and the author does as good a job as can be expected. Provides context for a lot of the geopolitics that define our present day

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  • Jorge Alegria F
  • 04-06-18

very good reading and listening of a great book

Easy and interesting listening of a great book. connection between chapters makes the listening very enjoyable

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  • William Blignaut
  • 09-07-17

Delightful, provacative and sublime

This is a simply astounding interpretation of world history and is mesmerising from start to finish. Delightful, provocative and sublime in equal measure, it is easily one of the most important world history's of recent times.

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  • Nicola
  • 20-03-17

Amazing!!!

Should be mandatory reading for all adults and policy makers. This changes your perception of everything.