• Persian Fire

  • The First World Empire, Battle for the West
  • By: Tom Holland
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows, Tom Holland
  • Length: 15 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's 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
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Persian Fire

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    1 out of 5 stars
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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

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Profile Image for Connor Sampson
  • Connor Sampson
  • 12-24-20

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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  • Nick Jarvis
  • 03-07-21

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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Profile Image for Charles Bertoia
  • Charles Bertoia
  • 02-18-21

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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  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-30-22

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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  • M. Finlay
  • 09-07-21

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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  • Mark Withers
  • 08-06-22

Another Holland masterpiece

A superbly researched and wonderfully told history. Tom Holland has a wonderful way of taking you from big picture to interesting detail and back again. Time very well spent!

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  • frank carey
  • 02-21-22

Persian fire

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

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-29-22

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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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-22-21

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
  • 11-11-19

Excellent

Loved this book, however, I think the title is somewhat misleading. The majority of the book deals with Greek history as it relates to the Persian wars, I would have liked it to deal more with Persian history as it relates to the Greek wars. Subtle, but important difference.

3 people found this helpful

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  • D
  • 04-24-20

not what it says on the box.

This isn't, as the description goes, a history of the Persian Empire. Rather, it is another history of the Greco/Persian wars with a bit at the start about the origin of the Persian Empire. Darius' exploits in India get two lines. The campaign against the Scythians less than a paragraph. The book ends generations before the end of the Persian Empire.

Holland does an excellent job crafting a gripping narrative, but this book is not as described.

1 person found this helpful

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  • CAJowett
  • 08-12-21

The story you think you know

Well read, well paced. Great story telling.
Titled chapters help navigation.
Fantastic insight into the story you think you know.