Laurence Kennedy reads the Introduction to Peter Frankopan's 'The Silk Roads'. The Sun is setting on the Western world. Slowly but surely, the direction in which the world spins has reversed: where for the past five centuries the globe turned westward on its axis, it now turns to the East... For centuries, fame and fortune were to be found in the West - in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the East that calls out to those in search of adventure and riches. The region stretching from Eastern Europe and sweeping right across Central Asia, deep into China and India, is taking centre stage in international politics, commerce, and culture - and is shaping the modern world. This region, the true centre of the Earth, is obscure to many in the English-speaking world. Yet this is where civilization itself began, where the world's great religions were born and took root. The Silk Roads were no exotic series of connections but networks that linked continents and oceans together. Along them flowed ideas, goods, disease, and death. This was where empires were won - and where they were lost. As a new era emerges, the patterns of exchange are mirroring those that have criss-crossed Asia for millennia. The Silk Roads are rising again. A major reassessment of world history, 'The Silk Roads' is an important account of the forces that have shaped the global economy and the political renaissance in the reemerging East.