My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Western understanding of Persian/Iranian history has been greatly influenced by what was reported by outsiders (namely the Greeks who largely sought to demonize the empire with whom they fought several wars). This text tries to balance the account … purportedly using Persian sources. It is not a textbook though … the history is told in a narrative style that brings together a number of differing sources to build a “presumed’ context in the absence of specific details … such as describing how an individual might be dressed for the occasion … these rather intimate vignettes are fairly interesting, at least until the author’s bias hits you right between the eyes with pejorative descriptors (such as pedestrian, et al.) applied to the Greeks that serve no academic function and detracts from the expected rational exposition of “a history.” This obvious bias undermines the over all scholarship that actually does present significant details about how the Persian court/government operates that now come across more as an apology that a recounting of facts. The author even justified Darius fleeing for his life in several engagements against Alexander as motivated by his desire to “save” his legacy and not because he was a coward abandoning his armies. Frankly the brutality of the Persian court was appalling to western/modern sensibilities and I had to wonder about the author’s defense against the Greek perception of moral decadence with references imperial power and force of armies as if the two were mutually exclusive. Over all, it seems we get a history almost as equally flawed as what we get from Herodotus … who was the author’s favorite target.
I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
View all my reviews