I read as much as I can, from audiobooks to classically curling up to a good paper page turner. I am mostly a non-fiction reader and the main reason I read is to give me different perspectives and to teach me to broaden my knowledge, perceptions and generate ideas.
I finished The Silk Roads, A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan earlier this year and I can not recommend it enough to everyone I meet. Casting my mind back to history at school we got isolated areas of study from Tudors to WW11 to American Indians, however, I have always felt that the story of history never weaved a meaningful story from beginning to today. I understand why – there is a lot of ground to cover so where do you start?
Peter Frankopan did this by focussing on the Silk Roads as the central pivot point for his book taking us through the history of the ‘saddle of the earth’ (Ottoman, Persia, Mesopotamia, Steppes now Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan and more) and the influence on and of Asia, Americas, Europe and beyond. Starting in the times BC, we are taken through Alexander the Great, Moguls, Romans, Crusaders, World Wars to today, succinctly and in a readable way avoiding what could be a heavy academic history of the world.
This book opened my understanding of the evolution of nations, cultures and the role of economics, trade and religion. Challenging pre-conceptions and re-iterating the importance in life to ask questions (don’t believe everything you read). I think this book is all the more poignant with the global political landscape we have today and being aware that what you don’t learn from history you are doomed to repeat it.