Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West

Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the WestRead Persian Fire The First World Empire And The Battle For The West Author Tom Holland In 480 B.C., Xerxes, The King Of Persia, Led An Invasion Of Mainland Greece Its Success Should Have Been A Formality For Seventy Years, Victory Rapid, Spectacular Victory Had Seemed The Birthright Of The Persian Empire In The Space Of A Single Generation, They Had Swept Across The Near East, Shattering Ancient Kingdoms, Storming Famous Cities, Putting Together An Empire Which Stretched From India To The Shores Of The Aegean As A Result Of Those Conquests, Xerxes Ruled As The Most Powerful Man On The Planet Yet Somehow, Astonishingly, Against The Largest Expeditionary Force Ever Assembled, The Greeks Of The Mainland Managed To Hold Out The Persians Were Turned Back Greece Remained Free Had The Greeks Been Defeated In The Epochal Naval Battle At Salamis, Not Only Would The West Have Lost Its First Struggle For Independence And Survival, But It Is Unlikely That There Would Ever Have Been Such An Entity As The West At All.Tom Holland S Brilliant New Book Describes The Very First Clash Of Empires Between East And West As He Did In The Critically Praised Rubicon, He Has Found Extraordinary Parallels Between The Ancient World And Our Own There Is No Other Popular History That Takes In The Entire Sweep Of The Persian Wars, And No Other Classical Historian, Academic Or Popular, Who Combines Scholarly Rigor With Novelistic Depth With A Worldly Irony In Quite The Fashion That Tom Holland Does. I am going to give this book a rating that is the result of an average between two different ingredients the fluent and compelling writing style, the exciting, vibrant and riveting historical narrative, the moments of epic poetry reminiscent of the best Homeric tradition, the startling immediacy with which the most stirring episodes of the confrontation between the Persian behemoth and the Greek city states are brought to life by the author, they all unequivocally deserve, in my opinion, a 4 star rating, even a 5 star rating The author is definitely a superb story teller, managing to combine a reasonably high level of historical accuracy with a sparkling, entertaining, vivid narrative A highly pleasurable reading, which I found very enjoyable a real page turner The author is also very good at properly contextualizing the conflict between Greece and Persian, nicely describing the historical background on the other hand, I must ruffle some feathers considering the overall very high rating of this book 4.16 at time of writing of this review and say that the overall author s performance in this book is much better as a narrator and chronicler than as a proper historian The lack of sufficient historical detail and analysis, the
I think that merits of this book need to be judged from two rather different perspectives Seen from purely literary point of view, Persian Fire is an excellent book Holland s writing style is both rich and engaging What s maybe even important, he makes all those historical figures come alive If the book was a pure work of fiction, I probably wouldn t be able to stop prizing Mr Holland s amazing gift of story telling.The thing is though that this is not work of fiction, but retelling of historical events What s important, those events took place long, long time ago and we really don t have a lot of primary, or even secondary sources that tell us what exactly happened Therein lies a huge problem the simple fact is that we know very little about the conflict between Persia and Greek city states This means that as soon as we move beyond most basic facts, we move into realm of speculation At the same time, the very secure tone of Tom Holland s prose, his unquestioning and definite presentati
I Bought Persian Fire in Heathrow returning from Morocco We had spent the night before with my wife s brother in Reading Having returned from the dually you know what I mean arid Marrakesch, we were greeted with a bounty of Czech pilsners The following morning I was half pained and entirely groggy I bought this upon entering the airport It was only then that we discovered that our flight had changed gates and we literally dashed for 45 minutes until we arrived for our flight, dripping with exertion I started to read as we underwent the 33 trials of boarding a plane bound for the United States Holland est
This is a dramatizing of the Greco Persian Wars, not the history of the Persian Empire The Persian Empire was founded by Cyrus the Great in the sixth century B C and was a massive Empire even by todays viewpoint He ruled the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and well beyond the Danube River in Europe Holland provides a brief history of the Persian Empire and also of Sparta and Athens This brief history allows someone unfamiliar with this timeframe to understand the events under discussion The immediate cause of the War was a revolt in the Greek Cities on the Ionian coast in 499 B.C The Greeks were rejecting Persian rule The revolt was put down, but in 493 B.C the Persians launched a punitive expedition which was defeated at Marathon in 490 B.C Ten years later the Persians again launched an invasion this time by both land and sea The Greeks deployed at Thermopylae and Artemisium in 480 B.C The Athenians were led by Themistocles and the Spartans by Leonidas The Persians were commanded by Darius In 479 B.C., the battles for Plataea and Mykale were fought and the Persians were led by Xerxes.Holland tells these famous ancient battles in a dramatic fashion He attempts to bring history to life and make a interesting read Holland provides a mostly pro Greek account of these battles It would have been great if he had presented a neutral viewpoint and provide
I picked this up because although three years of a degree in Ancient History mean that I know the history of this conflict quite thoroughly from the Greek side, I think I m less informed about it from the Persian point of view I m not sure that this did an awful lot to correct that while the early part of the book does discus the Persian Empire, Holland focuses much on Greece and a recounting of the battles than he does on Persia I would have loved a deeper cultural analysis of what happened on both sides, and I think some deeper questioning in general would have served the book much better While I obviously wasn t able to pick out if he was making any assumptions or false assertions with regards to Persian history, there were moments where Holland stated a theory as unquestio
Persian Fire looks at much than just the rise of the Persian empire It focuses heavily on the Greeks as well and while Holland explains his reasoning for this and it made sense, I do wish time could have been spent examining the Persians This feels like a historical look at the Persian
There are many versions of the great wars between the small Greek city states and the mighty Persian empire.This book is one of the best.The Persian empire was ruled always and only by one man, who word was law his law.The separate Greek city state were always experimenting with different forms of government and at one point came up with the idea of democracy Everyone has a vote unless you were a woman, child, slave, foreigner, or a person we didn t like according to the Falco books So rather than just launching straight into the actual wars it started with the history and cultures of all the peoples involved in a most ent
Superb pop history Despite the title, still a bit graeco centric understandable, given the sources available Certainly sympathetic to the Persians than any number of recent histories, though in the end it does toe the Western civilization was n
Sometimes at the most drowsy of moments spent on musing about history, I see the whole picture as a rise and fall of global powers A number of races, faiths and faces have all struggled for domination over the planet and when looked at from the longer term, every single one of them have failed Knowing that it is futile, why do men and women struggle for this momentary blaze of glory Swords, spears, shields, horses, elephants, men, muskets, bayonets and rifles no matter what the weapons, the empires built on them never survive for too long Look back for a moment at these The Persians, The Greeks, The Romans, The Egyptians, France, Holland, Russia, England, Germany, the USA How many of them are global super powers now Forget being super powers, a nation like Greece was washed out and went bankrupt A few centuries ago this nation was the crown jewel of classical civilization and a few months ago it was struggling to stay afloat Reading history against this background makes everything look rather bleak and yet we go on hoping that there just might be a chance for a light at the end of the tunnel The Persians were the pioneers in one aspect a concept that a war and subjugation of other lands in the name of a god was morally justified Centuries later this one notion they gave birth to still survives and even thrives in forms that are too monstrous to comprehend.This book is supposed to be a work of non fiction but in reality it reads faster than fiction that tells us about the rise
I must say that this book was really disappointing for me as I was, judging from the title, excitedly expecting a historical narrative of the first Persian Empire The title was, however, misleading, to say the least.The book starts with a rather hasty overview of Persian empire s background and even with the clever and very interesting insertions of anecdotes, one cannot but feel that the pace is forced Cyrus the Great gets a decent but short description and his two sons are mentioned in the passing in not very glorious terms Darius reign again is pushed through with excellent anecdotes and conjectural musings and we are led to the times of Xerxes but to the king s reign That ends the Persian Empire and thus far my short summary above would bravely rival the book in details.Rest of the book, the main bulk of it, is primarily the history of Xerxes was with the Greeks on land and sea FROM THE GREEK PERSPECTIVE The Persians are, henceforth, mainly referred to as savages as they are called by the Greeks and we are told only about the palatial war tents, luxuries and depletion of the ranks of the Persian side while Greeks cities, their individual legends, genealogies and ancestries, war machine and readiness, strategy, tactics and even minutes acts of bravery and valor are recorded in great details Even when Xerxes leaves the area, the book is reluctant to move with him to the

[ Reading ] ➺ Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West Author Tom Holland –
  • Hardcover
  • 418 pages
  • Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West
  • Tom Holland
  • English
  • 14 October 2019
  • 9780385513111