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Summary

In 480 BC, Xerxes, the King of Persia, led an invasion of mainland Greece. Its success should have been a formality. For 70 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 an entity as the West at all.

Tom Holland's brilliant 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.

©2005 Tom Holland (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

What listeners say about Persian Fire

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Accessible telling of fascinating history

Not only does this book tell what happened when a quarter of a million Persian soldiers invaded Greece, but it explains why. It has great discussions and histories of the powers involved in the war, as well as the events which cause it. I cannot recommend this book enough! Well structured and gripping throughout!

5 people found this helpful

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Gripping from start to finish

Really interesting and brilliantly narrated. History told as a story. Awakened an interest in a period of history I knew little about. Highly recommend

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent narrative history of the Persian Empire

As always, Tom Holland produced a magnificent narrative history. He lays out the development of two empires interwoven by geography and ambition.

2 people found this helpful

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More about Greece than Persia.

Good narrative but I was left wondering more about Persia. Not enough detail as to how Darius and Xerses got to be so powerful in Asia.

1 person found this helpful

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Hated it

This was a struggle to get to the end. It was an awful lot of make believe if you ask me.

1 person found this helpful

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Persian fire

very good, what else can I say. A Greek and a Persian walk into a bar

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Excellent

Brilliant prose brings the Persian's attempts to conquest Greece to life. I thoroughly enjoyed this and will definitely listen again.

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Just another Greek version of history.

If you consider this book because you want to learn more about Persian history, this is not the book. This is just a thinly veiled version of a story already told a thousend times. With a conclusion that completely ignores who dominated the politics in Greece after this bullocks story of west vs east.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-12-19

I regret buying such book

I was looking forward to read about Persian history, real history, and not some propaganda.

1 person found this helpful