Persian Fire

Persian Fire

The First World Empire and the Battle for the West

Book - 2005
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In 480 B.C.E., 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. 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. Xerxes ruled as the most powerful man on the planet. Yet somehow, astonishingly, against the largest expeditionary force ever assembled, the Greeks managed to hold out. Had the Greeks been defeated in the epochal naval battle 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 an entity as the West at all.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday ; Anchor Books, 2005
ISBN: 9780385513111
Characteristics: xxiii, 418 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm


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Sep 30, 2019

Tom Holland’s “Persian Fire” is an excellent narrative history of the Persian misadventure into Greece. Tom Holland prefaces the main story with a comprehensive history of the rise of the Persian empire, it’s conquest of the Babylonians and Assyrians before it. Holland also commits two chapters to the pre invasion history of both Athens and Sparta. In these chapters Holland highlights the lives of Lycaergus, in Sparta and the forefather of Spartan might and discipline; and Solon, the Athenian reformer who paved the way to democracy. Well worth a read for its ease of narrative and depth.

Apr 05, 2019

It's a solid readable history. The author is good at historical storytelling and making things interesting.

Jun 25, 2010

Everything most of us will ever need to know about Classical Greece can be found in this surprisingly good read from the historic non-fiction genre. If you enjoyed the movie "300" you will be further inspired to turn these pages. An easy, matter-of-fact delivery sets this boldly apart from the usual dry academia of this genre.


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Jun 25, 2010

“The traditions that define a people, that they cling to, that they love, can also, if cunningly exploited by a conqueror, serve to enslave them." ---Tom Holland: Persian Fire p. 147


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