From Publishers Weekly
British-born, American-Iranian attorney Zarghamee puts on his scholarly cap to profile Cyrus the Great, the famed sixth-century B.C.E. Persian conqueror and founder of the Achaemenid Empire. Acclaimed for ruling with a light hand in an efficient and benign fashion and introducing chivalry to warfare, the sovereign forged a vast realm that surpassed all previous Near Eastern kingdoms in its cosmopolitan makeup. Relying heavily on Persian archaeological and Greek literary sources, Zarghamee deftly examines Cyrus's religion, military (including the 10,000 Immortals), and extensive network of highways that facilitated trade. While this lengthy tome is well researched and thorough, it abounds in speculation and tangential evidence, as the author concedes, as well as an urge to predate Zoroastrianism and overstate its influence on Judaism, and utilizes anachronistic or imprecise terminology (Palestine instead of Israel/Judah, Old Testament instead of Hebrew Bible, etc.) that will needlessly confuse readers. Still, the work is fair, incisive, and detailed, and merits the attention of a broad readership interested in ancient history, religion, and imperialism. (Nov.)
Here it is at last,
a thorough, fluent, and engaging biographical study of Cyrus the Great. Students will find this book indispensible for its clear narrative and scholars will profit from its rich source materials, while casual readers will find much to enjoy as they set about discovering the Great King's life and world. Cyrus II, one of antiquity's most important figures, has long-deserved a readable modern biography and in Reza Zarghamee he has found a scholarly champion. ---Dr Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones,
Senior Lecturer in Ancient History, The University of Edinburgh
This is the most comprehensive study to date of the life and times of Cyrus the Great, and it will be welcomed by scholars and the general public alike.---Dr John Curtis, OBE, FBA, Keeper of Special Middle East Projects, The British Museum.
This book should be regarded as the most definitive study not just on Cyrus, but on the beginning of Iran and the Achaemenid Empire. The author should be congratulated.---Richard Frye, Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies, Harvard University.
Reza Zarghamee has left no stone unturned in his biography of Cyrus the Great. All sources and records have been meticulously treated, and the work is well-written. This is a great book for both scholars and members of the educated public interested in knowing about one of theimportant personages of the ancient world.---Touraj Daryaee, Howard C. Baskerville Professor in the History of Iran and the Persianate World, University of California, Irvine
Reza Zarghamee has written a detailed account of one of the most important figures in Iranian and indeed world history. Cyrus the Great is a subject of endless fascination and Mr. Zarghamee has done all readers a great service through his careful analysis of, in particular, the Greek sources on Cyrus and the early Persian Empire. The book is well-written and should appeal to a wide readership. --- --Daniel Thomas Potts, Professor of Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and History, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU