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A straightforward survey of the Persian empire

Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire, 550-330 BCE - Matthew Waters

Considering the limited amount of materials available to study it there are a considerable number of surveys of ancient Persia for readers to choose from, ranging from A. T. Olmstead's classic History of the Persian Empire to Lindsay Allen's recent The Persian Empire. Matt Waters concise survey, which covers the history of the Achaemenid empire from the reign of Cyrus I to its conquest by Alexander the Great in 330 in a little more than 200 pages, offers little that is substantially different from these books. Its merits are in it concision and organization, as Waters presents his information in a clear and unadorned manner. Though some might find its style a little dry, its straightforward coverage of the basics of Persian history and the operations of the empire makes it an excellent book for anyone seeking a starting point for understanding a subject long distorted by ancient Greek authors and modern-day artists (I'm looking at you, Frank Miller!).