Old-Barbarossa's Reviews > Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West

Persian Fire by Tom Holland
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's review
May 29, 2011

really liked it

Very well done Hx of the Greek/Persian wars.
Hard Hx in the style of a novel...almost. Not just dry facts but a good narrative. Having said that the facts are open to interpretation due to the lack of sources for the period being discussed, but the author backs up any potentially contentious views of events with a good set of notes explaining his decisions.
There is a couple of scene setting chapters at the start that cover some key points of Persian and Greek Hx and then it starts to heat up.
The blurb, and indeed at times the book itself, tries to portray the Greeks as terrorist states and the Persians the superpower they stand against...don't get that myself from the facts presented...OK, I can see the Persians as a superpower, but not the Greeks as terrorists. Otherwise very good stuff.
The battles are such a small part of what went on though. The infighting and politics, espionage and betrayal, horror and luxury all played huge parts that tend to be overlooked in some takes on this period.
Complex stuff well presented.

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