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The Peloponnesian Warby Donald Kagan
Synopses & Reviews
One of the world's foremost historians presents a fresh look at the greatest war of ancient Greece and a pivotal moment in Western civilization that still resonates today.
For almost three decades at the end of the fifth century B.C., Athens and Sparta fought a war that changed the Greek world and its civilization forever. A conflict unprecedented in its brutality, the Peloponnesian War brought a collapse in the institutions, beliefs, and customs that were the foundations of society. Today, scholars in fields ranging from international relations and political and military history to political philosophy continue to study the war for its timeless relevance to the history of our own time.
Now Donald Kagan, classical scholar and historian of international relations, ancient and modern, presents a sweeping new narrative of this epic contest that captures all its drama, action, and tragedy. In describing the rise and fall of a great empire he examines the clash between two disparate societies, the interplay of intelligence and chance in human affairs, the role of great human beings in determining the course of events, and the challenge of leadership and the limits in which it must operate. The result is an engrossing, fresh perspective on a key historical event that will be welcomed by general readers and history buffs alike — and anyone seeking a better understanding of the pivotal events that shaped the world as we know it.
"[T]ruly impressive...a thorough, yet concise, erudite, yet accessible, narrative....
"[Kagan] succeeds admirably....
"One feature that makes it eminently readable is its division into short chapters....It is also handsomely furnished with something essential to a history of this war: maps...all clearly printed and complete and situated just where you need them." Bernard Knox, The New York Times Book Review
"Authoritative history demonstrating that, though the weaponry may have multiplied, the reactions of leaders and societies during wartime have altered little." Kirkus Reviews
"In a style at once readable and pithy, Kagan makes fifth-century B.C.E. Greece comprehensible to all readers....Kagan's sumptuous style will enthrall readers who had not imagined that they would find the topic so absorbing." Library Journal
Book News Annotation:
Giving all due respect to Thucydides, Kagan (classics and history, Yale U.) decided that a new account was needed of the three-decade war between the Athenian Empire and the Spartan Alliance at the end of the fifth century BC that changed the Greek world and its civilization forever. He includes maps both of regions and of specific battles. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Giving all due respect to Thucydides, Kagan decided that a new account was needed of the three-decade war between the Athenian Empire and the Spartan Alliance at the end of the fifth century B.C. that changed the Greek world and its civilization forever.
For three decades in the fifth century b.c. the ancient world was torn apart bya conflict that was as dramatic, divisive, and destructive as the world wars of the twentieth century: the Peloponnesian War. Donald Kagan, one of the world’s most respected classical, political, and military historians, here presents a new account of this vicious war of Greek against Greek, Athenian against Spartan. The Peloponnesian War is a magisterial work of history written for general readers, offering a fresh examination of a pivotal moment in Western civilization. With a lively, readable narrative that conveys a richly
detailed portrait of a vanished world while honoring its timeless relevance, The Peloponnesian War is a chronicle of the rise and fall of a great empire and of a dark time whose lessons still resonate today.
About the Author
Donald Kagan is Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University. His four-volume History of the Peloponnesian War is the leading scholarly work on the subject. He is also the author of many books on ancient and modern topics.
Table of Contents
The road to war — Pericles' war — New strategies — The false peace — The disaster in Sicily — Revolutions in the empire and in Athens — The fall of Athens.
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