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Persian Fire - First World Empire And The…
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Persian Fire - First World Empire And The Battle For The West (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Tom Holland

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1,223256,520 (4.06)91
Member:policeman606b
Title:Persian Fire - First World Empire And The Battle For The West
Authors:Tom Holland
Info:Doubleday (2005), Edition: 1ST, Hardcover, 448 pages
Collections:Read but unowned, Borrowed from library, Read 2013
Rating:****
Tags:ancient history, Ancient Greece, Greece, Herodotus, Persian Wars, Khorosan Highway, Assyrians, Media, Astyages, Persia, Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius, Zagros, Zorastrianism, Achaemenids, Babylon, Mesopotamia, Ahura Mazda, Sparta, Peloponnese, Lacedaemon, Athens, Acropolis, Alcmaeonids, Lycurgus, Pisistratus, Cleisthenes, Cleomenes, Sardis, Ionia, Miletus, Aristagoras, Themistocles, Marathon, Xerxes, hoplites, Phoenicians, Syracuse, Sicily, Leonidas, Artemisium, Thermopylae, Salamis, Mardonius, Plataea, chronology, notes, bibliography, index, read 2013

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Persian Fire : The First World Empire and the Battle for the West by Tom Holland (2005)

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Fascinating! Holland writes his history dramatically, almost like fiction. I caught myself forgetting whether is was a true story. ( )
  TrgLlyLibrarian | Feb 1, 2015 |
A fan of history, but never really into the ancient world, this was my first serious book about the Persian and Greek empires of the 5th century BC. Tom Holland writes with passion, authority and immediacy. This reads more like reportage than history. He clearly states the chronological narrative, but also brings alive the key figures involved, thus painting a rich picture of life and politics in this ancient world.

Clearly, if the Persian Empire had overrun Greece the history of what we call the Western world would have been very different, although from 2,500 years way, exactly how different is hard to judge. The Persian Empire could have stretched into mainland Europe, Italy and further, with consequences for the Roman Empire as well as the impact on thought and societal development in Greece.

I think this is a great example of good writing as well as good history. ( )
  pierthinker | Jan 19, 2015 |
A Christmas gift from my eldest who really knows what I love. I was started by the time period and his general project, to scrape away all the hadniths, etc. that have attached themselves to Islam over the centuries and get us back to the original bones of a very controversial religious, his historical context and value. A brilliant and courageous piece of research, written with occasional irreverence, as is Holland's style.

I will be fascinated to see what he tackles next. Bravo! ( )
  milocross | Jan 6, 2015 |
Excellent. Really enjoyable history of the early Persian Empire and it's conflicts with the various city-states of Greece around 500BC. I'm not usually a fan of MilHist but the accounts of the battles of Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis were as exciting as any thriller! ( )
1 vote SChant | Mar 12, 2014 |
A great read about the Persian Wars. Its best part are the finely written introduction chapters on Persia, Athens and Sparta. The battles themselves are actually not given as much space as I had expected and wanted. The worst part is the preface with its fearful stench of the Bush years and the false parallel between the West and the East. The Greeks didn't do battle for some pasty-faced Englishmen, the Persians didn't want to eradicate civilization. ( )
2 vote jcbrunner | Jun 30, 2013 |
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Listen now to a further point: no mortal thing
Has a beginning, nor does it end in death and obliteration;
There is only a mixing and then a separating of what was mixed,
But by mortal men these processes are named “beginnings.”
Empedocles
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For Jamie and Caroline
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The gods, having scorned to mold a world that was level, had preferred instead to divide it into two.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0349117179, Paperback)

In 480 BC, 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 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 and entity as the West at all. Tom Holland's brilliant new book describes the very first 'clash of Empires' between East and West. Once again he has found extraordinary parallels between the ancient world and our own. There is no competing popular book describing these events.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:24 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

This is a brilliant account of the world's very first clash of civilisations between the Persians and the Greeks. Tom Holland has written several books including 'The Vampyre' and 'Deliver Us From Evil', and won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History in 2004.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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