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Peter Frankopan's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Peter Frankopan recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Peter Frankopan's favorite book recommendations of all time.

This volume contains selected papers from the XV International Graduate Conference, highlighting the latest scholarship from a new generation of Late Antique and Byzantine scholars from around the world. The theme of the conference explored the interaction between power and the natural and human environments of Byzantium, an interaction that is an essential part of the empire's legacy. This legacy has come down to us through buildings, literature, history and more, and has proved enduring enough to intrigue and fascinate scholars centuries after the fall of Constantinople. From religion and... more
Recommended by Peter Frankopan, and 1 others.

Peter FrankopanWhen you write a book that is very visible like mine has been—and I’ve been very grateful and humbled by that—you suddenly get lots of exciting invitations. From the outside, it’s all very exciting and glamorous. (Source)

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Ibn Fadlān and the Land of Darkness

Arab Travellers in the Far North

In 922 AD, an Arab envoy from Baghdad named Ibn Fadlan encountered a party of Viking traders on the upper reaches of the Volga River. In his subsequent report on his mission he gave a meticulous and astonishingly objective description of Viking customs, dress, table manners, religion and sexual practices, as well as the only eyewitness account ever written of a Viking ship cremation.

Between the ninth and fourteenth centuries, Arab travellers such as Ibn Fadlan journeyed widely and frequently into the far north, crossing territories that now include Russia, Uzbekistan and...
Recommended by Peter Frankopan, and 1 others.

Peter FrankopanIn the early 10th century, Ibn Fadlan is sent on a mission to Vulgar Bulgaria, which is a long way into the north of Russia. He reports on all the different peoples he meets on the way. (Source)

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The Alexiad

A revised edition of Anna Komnene's Alexiad, to replace our existing 1969 edition. This is the first European narrative history written by a woman - an account of the reign of a Byzantine emperor through the eyes and words of his daughter which offers an unparalleled view of the Byzantine world in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. less
Recommended by Peter Frankopan, and 1 others.

Peter FrankopanThere are several jewels of medieval Greek literature but Anna Komnene’s is probably the brightest. (Source)

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De Administrando Imperio

This is a reprint of the second revised edition of the text and translation of the "De Administrando Imperio" written and compiled by Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in the tenth century. It contains a wide variety of information on both foreign relations and internal administration and is one of the most important historical documents surviving from the Middle Byzantine period. Its confidential character and generally honest appraisal of the empire's political situation enhance its value for students of Byzantium and Europe during this period. The edition includes general and... more
Recommended by Peter Frankopan, and 1 others.

Peter FrankopanIt has been seen, by some scholars, as an intelligence manual to be studied and read by operatives before they went out into the field. (Source)

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Five Plays

Chekhov's worldwide reputation as a dramatist rests on five great plays: Ivanov, The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard. All are presented in this collection, taken from the authoritative Oxford Chekhov, in Ronald Hingley's acclaimed translation. Hingley has also written an introduction specifically for this volume in which he provides a detailed history of Chekhov's involvement in the theater and an assessment of his accomplishment as a dramatist.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's...
Recommended by Peter Frankopan, and 1 others.

Peter FrankopanYou learn much more about Russia before the revolution by reading The Cherry Orchard than you will by studying the tsar and his land reforms or other decisions made in St Petersburg by the leadership. (Source)

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The nomads of Central Asia were already well accustomed to life under the power of a distant capital when the Bolsheviks fomented revolution on the streets of Petrograd. Yet after the fall of the Tsar, the nature, ambition and potency of that power would change dramatically, ultimately resulting in the near eradication of Central Asian nomadism.
Based on extensive primary source work in Almaty, Bishkek and Moscow, Nomads and Soviet Rule charts the development of this volatile and brutal relationship and challenges the often repeated view that events followed a linear path of gradually...
Recommended by Peter Frankopan, and 1 others.

Peter Frankopan@AlunR_Thomas Great news - a terrific book, and beautifully written. Many congratulations !!!👏👏👏 (Source)

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In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a pioneering community of Christian scholars laid the groundwork for the modern Western understanding of Islamic civilization. These men produced the first accurate translation of the Qur’an into a European language, mapped the branches of the Islamic arts and sciences, and wrote Muslim history using Arabic sources. The Republic of Arabic Letters reconstructs this process, revealing the influence of Catholic and Protestant intellectuals on the secular Enlightenment understanding of Islam and its written traditions.

Drawing on Arabic,...
Recommended by Peter Frankopan, Joshua Landis, and 2 others.

Peter FrankopanTerrific book - great to see it out in p/back @ABevilacqua7 👏👏👏 (Source)

Joshua LandisHow Islam Shaped the Enlightenment - By JACOB SOLL review of ISLAM AND THE EUROPEAN ENLIGHTENMENT by Alexander Bevilacqua A new book recovers the work of scholars who helped establish greater understanding between religions. Great review. (Source)

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