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The Books Podcast: geopolitics, the new Silk Roads, and the falcon-shaped airport in Turkmenistan

21 November 2018

5:04 PM

21 November 2018

5:04 PM

In this week’s books podcast I’m talking to Oxford’s Professor of Global History Peter Frankopan about his follow-up to his bestselling history The Silk Roads. In The New Silk Roads, Peter brings his story up to date, and argues that with our Trump and Brexit obsessions, and a divided and fissiparous West still obsessed with itself, we are missing the bigger picture of what’s going on in the world today. Once again, the Silk Roads — those lines of connection between East and West running through what he calls the “heart of the world” — are where the action is. In our conversation we look at the rise of China and asks what its vast “Belt and Road” programme means for the future shape of the world, at the deeply complex relations between the Gulf states and the nations with interests in them, at the forces at work in India, Pakistan and Iran — and why our school curricula need to go a bit beyond the old diet of Black Death, Mary Seacole and the Second World War. Plus, Peter’s (almost) diplomatic about the enduring madness of Turkmenistan.


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