J F Lazenby

Trouble with Triremes

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

By

Little, Brown 448pp £20 order from our bookshop

The Persian Wars are one of the great ‘David and Goliath’ struggles of history, with a particular resonance today as the first truly historical clash between East and West. In the sweep and vividness of his prose Tom Holland does the subject proud, and he is also good at trying to look at the conflict as much through Persian eyes as Greek, and at getting inside the psyche of Darius and Xerxes. If anything, indeed, his enthusiasm for all things Persian leads him to dwell too long, for example, on the rise of the Persian Empire.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,