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

by Tom Holland, 2006

This book tells the story of the Persian invasion of Greece, and the Greek resistance (most famously at Thermopylae). It draws heavily from Herodotus, but does a good job setting the stage for what the Persians were up to, and why Greece had a hard time presenting a unified front. It read much like a story. One of my favorite aspects was that the author wasn’t afraid to make stuff up. More properly, he would extrapolate details for the sake of the narrative, using a footnote to explain where something was well-grounded speculation. An eminently readable work on a very important historical event. 

Posted: Wed - May 30, 2007 at 08:55 PM