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The Silk Roads / The New Silk Roads


10 August 2023


The Silk Roads / The New Silk Roads

Bloomsbury Publishing, August 2015 • Peter Frankopan
Bloomsbury Publishing, June 2019 • Peter Frankopan

Review and personal recommendation by
Róbert Huszár (SEED Faculty Member)

The Silk Roads captivated me with its unique perspective: putting as the „heart of the world” the are between the Mediterranean and the Pacific and focusing on history (and its lessons!) from this point of view is completely different from how history was taught to me in school in Central Europe.

Besides learning an awful lot about peoples and empires I had never heard of before (it might be my bad, not just my schooling …) the approach the book took was also illuminating: instead of focusing on specific events (battles, deeds of kings and emperors, etc.) it sheds light on how things are connected and what cause and effect relationships shaped the course of events. E.g. how the Boston Tea Party was a logical consequence of what was happening in India at the time…

The New Silk Roads explores the reemergence of the same region today after a (brief, on historical scale) period of Western (i.e. European and American) dominance. It is exciting but also a little bit frightening to think about the consequences of what Frankopan puts forward in the book.

About the author

Peter Frankopan is a British historian and a professor of global history at Worcester College, Oxford. He is also the Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. He studies the history of the Byzantine Empire, Anatolia, Russia and the Balkans.

He has written two popular books about the Silk Road, one is The Silk Roads: A New History of the World (2015) the other one is The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World (2018). Apart from Byzantine research and Silk Roads studies, Frankopan pays attention to the climate and environment and has published a book entitled The Earth Transformed: An Untold History (2023). He is on the list of the World’s Top 50 Thinkers by Prospect Magazine.