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

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Little, Brown Book Group, Apr 21, 2011 - History - 448 pages
129 Reviews
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.

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Interesting topic, but the prose was sometimes a slog. - Goodreads
... not so easy to read. - Goodreads
Loved this book and the insight in this topic. - Goodreads
Holland's writing style is both rich and engaging. - Goodreads
It does move at a good pace. - Goodreads
This was easy to read and not too "academic". - Goodreads

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

User Review  - Nick - Goodreads

This is an easy book to figure out if you're going to like. If the prospect of an in-depth history of the "Great Game," Imperial England and Tsarist Russia's brokering for territory, market share, and ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Michael O'shaughnessy - Goodreads

Came across this volume when looking for books on the Achaemenids. The subject has always fascinated me - the first people to really act on that ancient conceit of universal empire, a people that had ... Read full review

About the author (2011)

Tom Holland received a double first from Cambridge. He has adapted Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides and Virgil for BBC Radio. He was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for RUBICON and won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History 2004.

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