“The New Silk Roads” by Peter Frankopan

Thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

This review is terribly late. In my defence, I was approved for it a good while after publication date. I also own both editions of The Silk Roads (the children’s version is absolutely fabulous) and bought the audiobook too so I hope I’ve made it up to Professor Frankopan.

This book is really a kind of postscript to 2015’s The Silk Roads and provides a snapshot of the world today both in the West and the Silk Road countries discussed in the previous book.

There are some really interesting observations here about the interconnectedness of today’s world and the need to approach diplomacy and collaboration between countries differently to how they’ve been conducted in the past. Discussion around the slowly decaying West, benefits and disadvantages of globalisation and the variety of initiatives taking place across The Silk Road countries are also explored in this book.

The only thing that irked me slightly was how much focus there was on Donald Trump for no other reason than he’s a complete pillock and having his idiocy reinforced was somewhat tiresome. It makes complete sense of course in the context of this book but from a personal standpoint I didn’t enjoy these parts so much.

I liked how the book linked into the previous book and the observations were often illuminating. It’s one of those books you pause frequently when reading to say ‘Did you know that…” which is a testament to its appeal.

Overall, a fitting sequel to one of the best non-fiction books of the past decade and I’d recommend it to anyone, even if you haven’t read The Silk Roads. I’ll certainly be referring to it in my teaching.

P.s. Did you know that the quarry that provided some of the marble for the new World Trade Centre has the Bin Laden Family as its biggest shareholder?

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