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Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West Audio CD – Unabridged, 1 March 2021
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About the Author
Tom Holland gained the top degree at Cambridge before earning his PhD at Oxford. He is the author of the novels The Bone Hunter, Slave of My Thirst, and Lord of the Dead, and several nonfiction history books, including Rubicon, Persian Fire, and The Histories, a new translation of Herodotus. He wrote and presented Islam: The Untold Story, a documentary commissioned for Channel 4 in Britain based on In the Shadow of the Sword. He lives in London with his wife and two daughters.
- Publisher : Tantor and Blackstone Publishing; Unabridged edition (1 March 2021)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1799982238
- ISBN-13 : 978-1799982234
- Dimensions : 13.46 x 19.05 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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In Holland's books on Caesar and the Julio-Claudians he had copious amounts of classical texts to work with and this justified his confident narrative style. With the Greco-Persian wars he has Herodotus, with a few forays into Thucydides, Plutarch and Diodorus). This material does not justify the same assured approach here, nor is he shy of using a dozen words where one or two will suffice (which eventually becomes tiresome in itself).
Presented as history, but ultimately a work of historical fiction I fear, though not a bad one at that; the reader would be better off sticking with reading Herodotus, which is far more enjoyable.
Both Athens and Sparta receive ample attention, Holland explaining the Athenian budding of democracy and the extremely unforgiving and strict warrior code of Sparta. The work also seems to debunk some myths. For example , that it was the messenger who ran from Marathon to bring news of victory and then dropped down dead. Holland tells us that the running was actually done by the Athenians themselves after they realised the Persian fleet was heading to Athens and they'd left their city sparsely defended.
Ultimately this is a book about the desire for power and conquest. But, its also a very human telling. We read how different characters of history interacted with each other, how their rivalry and hatreds (the Greeks) made them easier targets. Division, it seems, really does breed weakness. When you read of all the back-stabbing, plotting and power struggles it is quite amazing that the Greeks managed to work together well enough to fend off the threat from the east.
Although it covers Marathon and its aftermath, it also gives a detailed account, with occasional wry humour, of the origins of Persia, Athens, Sparta etc. The book also introduces you to a host of other peoples you half know, including those of Assyria,, Babylon, the Phoenicians and suchlike. In short, there is a pretty high percentage here of all the stuff you need to know about the ancient world (excluding Rome and Egypt), contained in less than 400 pages of well-written and engaging narrative.
Very highly recommended.