The Silk Roads

  • by Peter Frankopan
  • Narrated by Laurence Kennedy
  • 24 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Wras

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.

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- Natalia

Book Details

  • Release Date: 27-08-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios for Bloomsbury