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The epic history of the crossroads of the world - the meeting place of East and West and the birthplace of civilization

It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures and religions. From the rise and fall of empires to the spread of Buddhism and the advent of Christianity and Islam, right up to the great wars of the twentieth century - this book shows how the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East.

Peter Frankopan realigns our understanding of the world, pointing us eastward. He vividly re-creates the emergence of the first cities in Mesopotamia and the birth of empires in Persia, Rome and Constantinople, as well as the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death and the violent struggles over Western imperialism. Throughout the millennia, it was the appetite for foreign goods that brought East and West together, driving economies and the growth of nations.

From the Middle East and its political instability to China and its economic rise, the vast region stretching eastward from the Balkans across the steppe and South Asia has been thrust into the global spotlight in recent years. Frankopan teaches us that to understand what is at stake for the cities and nations built on these intricate trade routes, we must first understand their astounding pasts. Far more than a history of the Silk Roads, this book is truly a revelatory new history of the world, promising to destabilize notions of where we come from and where we are headed next.

About the Author

Peter Frankopan

Peter studied History at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he was Foundation Scholar, Schiff Scholar and won the History Prize in 1993, when he took an outstanding first class degree. He did his D.Phil (Ph. D) at Corpus Christi College, where he was elected to a Senior Scholarship before moving to Worcester College as Junior Research Fellow in 1997. He has been Senior Research Fellow since 2000 and is Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research at Oxford University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Society of Arts, the Royal Anthropological Institute, and the Royal Asiatic Society. Peter has held visiting Fellowships at Dumbarton Oaks (Harvard) and Princeton, and has lectured at universities all over the world including Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, NYU, Notre Dame, King's London and The Institute of Historical Research. He writes regularly for the national and international press about current affairs and about how history helps to explain the present. His work has been translated into twelve languages. Peter chairs a collection of family businesses in the UK, France, Croatia and the Netherlands, including A Curious Group of Hotels which he set up with his wife Jessica in 1999. He is actively involved with several charities, mainly in the areas of education, international development, gender studies and classical music. Both he and Jessica are Companions of the Guild of Benefactors at Cambridge University. He has been a Governor of Wellington College since 2006. He chairs the Frankopan Fund, which has awarded more than a hundred scholarships and awards to outstanding young scholars from Croatia to study at leading academic institutions in the UK, USA and Europe. A chorister at Westminster Cathedral as a boy, music scholar at school and choral scholar at Cambridge, he is an accomplished musician and has recorded many albums as a singer and instrumentalist. A keen sportsman, Peter won blues at both Oxford and Cambridge for minor sports, and represented Croatia internationally at cricket. He plays for the Authors CC, a team of writers whose members has included PG Wodehouse and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In recent years, the team has toured India and Sri Lanka, and played against the Pope's 1st XI - St Peter's CC - in England and in Rome.In the summer of 2013, Bloomsbury published The Authors XI. A Season of English Cricket from Hackney to Hambledon. It was as one of The Guardian's Books the year, and was one of Hilary Mantel's Books of the Year in the Observer.

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