Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne: “The Silk Roads”

So my broadcast partner, Mike Bordick, shows up one day with a tome of a book easily useable for weightlifting and says he really likes this work.

That was all I needed to hear to start egging him on to join me on Hitting the Books and tell us all why he liked “The Silk Roads: A New History of the World” by Peter Frankopan, a monumental work that bends the weight of the world’s development to Asia and China.

Only thing was, I hadn’t read the book yet.

Silk-Roads-Cover.jpgSo after lugging this on planes, trains and buses, I worked my way to the end and was ready to sit Mike down and explore his reading adventure.

A couple of notes. Frankopan is an historian at Oxford University with a history of research regarding Asia. The major theme here, and there are many, is that the impact of development of the Eurasian continent on world history is understated.

The silk roads were the various trade routes in this development, routes that carried far more than silk and spices.

Along these roads came religious revolutions, empire building, global trade, massive inhumanity in the name of power and greed, and a shift to western powers.

Reviews of this work have questioned some conclusions and whether the breadth of the work is too much for one book, but there is no doubt about the knowledge of the author on the subject and the highly readable result.

From Attila the Hun to the Dark Ages to Buddhism, it’s all here, laid out in historical development terms.

Placing in context the various historical periods and players is no small accomplishment. The author does so here in some breathtaking writing.

The book was published in 2015.

Now, here’s Mike.

“History never really says goodbye. History says, ‘See you later.’” - Eduardo Galeano, a Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist who died at 74 in 2015.

For those who may have missed the 2018 Pulitzer book winners, here is the list with a brief description from one reviewer, Rebecca Renner of Bookriot.com.

* 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer is a satirical literary novel that follows Arthur Less, a man who has run away from his problems - and into more problems abroad.

* 2018 Pulitzer Prize for History: “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea” by Jack E. Davis is like the biography of a place, the Gulf of Mexico. Painting a sweeping portrait from the age of conquistadors to the environmental perils of the present day.

* 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Biography: “Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder” by Caroline Fraser. Millions of readers and TV watchers know “Little House on the Prairie,” but few know the life of the series’ author, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

* 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry: “Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016” by Frank Bidart. This collection pits misfits and monsters with the sacred and profane realities of the flesh.

* 2018 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction: “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America” by James Forman Jr. lays bare the disproportionate impact policing and punishment of crime has had on black America.

Gary Thorne is the play-by-play voice of the Orioles on MASN, and the 2018 season is his 12th with the club and 33nd covering Major League Baseball. His blog will appear regularly throughout the season. The Orioles and Sarasota County, for the 7th consecutive year, have partnered on the Big League Reader Program, which rewarded kids who read three books in February with tickets to a Grapefruit League game at Ed Smith Stadium in March. 180 children participated last year.

* Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne. © Copyright 2018 Gary F. Thorne. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gary F. Thorne and MASNsports.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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