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  • Fascinating economic history of the world

    This was a fascinating history of world economics. It wasn’t quite what I expected – I thought it would be about the original Silk Road – from China to the Middle East – lots about Uzbekistan, caravan serai, silk, ceramics, some Marco Polo …That was just a beginning. The author has taken ‘Silk Roads’ to refer to any major trading route. He talks about the products that were transported (silk, precious metals, slaves, food-stuffs, oil …), the politics and wars connected to the routes, the spread of commerce, ideas and religions, and how the ‘centre’ of the world has shifted over time from China/Central Asia, to Europe, trans-Atlantic slave trade, USA – and now, the author contends, back to Central Asia. It was very interesting to here about historical events from a different stand-point to what I had understood before. This was particularly true for the more recent events. There was so much that I had missed, and much that made me angry that I had not known. While I had known some of the rapaciousness, arrogance, duplicity and self-serving kleptocracy of the British and the USA, it turns out that I had barely scratched the surface. But, as Empires, they were not unique in history. Commerce and morality often had little in common, and where there were winners, there were always big losers. I listened to the book on Audible, and though I really liked the content (5 stars), I was often disappointed with the narrator (3 stars). I felt his accents invented for the quotes of long-dead commentators were 1) unlikely to be accurate 2) distracting and often annoying and 3) completely unnecessary. Later in the book, he tended to sound rather bored with what he was reading. However, if you can put up with these niggles, his narration is normally very clear and understandable. As I want to go back to read some sections again, I have bought a hard-copy. There is far too much to take in and remember from just listening to the book. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in global history. It is a long book, but with a wealth of information, and well worth a read.

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