Tom Darrow's Reviews > Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West

Persian Fire by Tom Holland
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Jun 29, 11

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Read in January, 2009

I was really excited when I started reading this book. I'd read Tom Holland's previous book Rubicon and thought it was great. Once I had read Persian Fire, I came to the conclusion that Holland thought Rubicon was great too and it got to his head. Rubicon was easy to read, but Persian Fire takes on an eleitist tone. For example, he took the time to explain the background behind certain events but in Persian Fire, he just kind of expects the reader to know what he's talking about. Furthermore, something as simple as his word choices changes... with the latter book coming off much more scholarly and snobby.

The book promises to make some grand connection between the events of over 2000 years ago with the events of today (terrorism, the clash between Christianity and Islam, etc) but those connections are never clearly established.

I think that if I had read this book on its own, I might have scored it higher, but it was a huge let down when compared to his previous work.
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