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

Front Cover
Little, Brown Book Group, Apr 21, 2011 - History - 448 pages
256 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
I would have liked the font to larger. - Goodreads
It does move at a good pace. - Goodreads

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

User Review  - Daniel Farabaugh - Goodreads

This book was exceedingly engaging. The battle scenes were dramatic and the depth of historical back ground truly allowed you to have a sense of why each side was fighting. Read full review

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

User Review  - Neil Pearson - Goodreads

Despite the title, the majority of the book is about the Greeks (which the author suggests is largely due to the amount of information available). Luckily, my knowledge of ancient Greece was clearly ... 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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