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

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

by Tom Holland
4.0 20

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Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This fine book tells the story of an earlier war between East and West. In the fifth century BC, a global superpower was determined to bring order to what it regarded as two terrorist states. The superpower was Persia, the terrorist states Athens and Sparta. As Holland points out, ¿even the mightiest empires can suffer from overstretch.¿ He mordantly notes, with a passing hit at the British state¿s `special relationship¿ with the declining USA, ¿There was no greater source of self-contentment for a subject-nation, after all, and no surer badge of its continued servitude, than to imagine that it might have been graced with a special relationship with the king.¿
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be wonderfully readable and compelling, describing the Greeks and Persians of the 500 BC time period in terms that make them come to life 2500 years later. Herein lies the story of ancient sources of tension and differences between the West and Iran and the rest of the Middle East today, how great the struggle has always been, providing a clarification of how long the sides have been resisting the influence and dominance of the others. For our culture that seems to view 100 years ago as 'old' and wants to forget its transgressions against others from last year, here is a wake up call describing the basis of the point of view from 'the other side'. For good measure as well, the author describes the original development of democracy and wipes away any illusions of altruism or true equality mixed up in its origins. In general Tom Holland turns ancient history into a story readable and outlines its direct influences on our world today.
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Robert Mchugh More than 1 year ago
Time spent reading this book is like stepping into a time machine. Well worth the price of admission.
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Midwestbob More than 1 year ago
Love the subject of the book. Fills in a lot of details adding meaning to the conflict. Can tell author loves the subject as well, maybe too much. Problem with the book is being verbose, could use some editing. Not an easy read.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
The language, syntax, grammar, vocabulary are all needlessly awkward, archaic, flowerly and prententious. It makes it so hard to really comprehend or get involved in the narrative. Plus, I don't think that Holland fulfilled the book jackets claim of drawing conclusion and analysis of how these ancient events help shape history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very enjoyable and short read which chronicles Athens and Sparta's triumph against the Persian empire. We are presented with brief and interesting histories of Athens, Sparta, and the Persians. The book really picks up speed towards the end covering the Greek victories at Marathon and Salamis. We see Athens emerge as the dominant city state within the Greek realms, much to the chagrin of Sparta. Particularly entertaining is the description of the battle of Thermopalyae where 300 Spartan warriors held a mountain pass to the death led by King Leonidas. As a lover of military history I found the book a bit too brief with respect to battle descriptions and maps of troop movements. Mythology enthusiasts will appreciate the author¿s creative analysis of mythological motives behind the Persians and Greeks. There seems to be a renewed interest about the Peloponnesian Wars, and I think this book could serve as a great ¿prequel¿ to those students. I would definitely recommend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you hav come to read this review i see you are looking for info on persian history. unfortunatly very few in english have been written and all but this very one, are terribly written. You will have to read a bunch of pages in the begining until you get into the history you are looking for. This author Spends an immense amount of time talking about persian mythology and religion in the begining but once you soldier through that... You will find the exact, clean cut foundations, emporers and heirs, along with many, many assasinations for the throne throughout persian history. This book is easy to rad and understand, giving a step by step story or time of the entire persian empire. This book is the diamond in the ruff because every other book on persian history gos into persian culture based on what archialogists found at excavation sites. You wiill only get persian culture in this book when it partains the emporers lives and their military exploits, which is the way it should be. All the great king (thats what persian kings called themselves) are fluently described during their lives until the next one come into play. I have searched high and low for a book on Persia that gives me wha I have been looking for and i have to say...this is all there is on the market.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Non scholarly, illinformed and malicious.