Persian Fire

Persian Fire : The First World Empire, Battle for the West

4.15 (4,690 ratings by Goodreads)
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In 480 BC, 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. 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 and entity as the West at all. Tom Holland's brilliant new 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 more

Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 126 x 196 x 34mm | 399.99g
  • Little, Brown Book Group
  • Abacus
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Section: 16, colour
  • 0349117179
  • 9780349117171
  • 81,027

Review Text

If Sinatra wooed the '40's, Presley zapped the '50's. He was the sexy cyclone that changed the shape and sound of massteria and created a cultural revolution. Two decades, umpteen gold records, and 40 leaden movies later, he is a legend that can still break all Vegas house records. Hopkins, editor of Rolling Stone and author of The Rock Scene, has done an admirable job getting into the man, the management and the music that created this phenomenal SucceSS story. It's really Horatio Alger set to Rock, with Elvis perfectly cast as the polite, persistent boy from Tupelo, Mississippi's Poverty Row. If Elvis is an archetypal boy wonder, then his manager, known as "the Colonel" is Mr. Super Slick, the ultimate promoter. The Colonel is the most fascinating character in the book, a canny huckster with a knack for practical put-ons - "When asked if Elvis would do a walk-on on the Joey Bishop Show, the Colonel said yes for $2500, and when the producer asked why so little, the Colonel said it would cost another $47,500 for Elvis to walk back off." Everyone from the original sidemen to the "Memphis Mafia" (Elvis' entourage) to the adored mother who couldn't cope with success to the matronly Mrs. who has collected over 25,000 pictures of her hero are included in this upbeat, eminently readable profile. It is, in the words of one fan club, "Elvisly yours." (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Review quote

Gripping and authoritative ... An awe-inspiring story of the struggle for freedom Express Confident, fluent and accessible, and with salutary lessons for our own times, this is history at its best The Timesshow more

About Tom Holland

Tom Holland received a double first from Cambridge. He has adapted Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides and Virgil for BBC Radio. He was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for RUBICON and won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History more

Rating details

4,690 ratings
4.15 out of 5 stars
5 40% (1,868)
4 41% (1,913)
3 16% (740)
2 3% (125)
1 1% (44)
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