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History Of The Peloponnesian War Paperback – Jan 1 1954

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classic; Reprint edition (Jan. 1 1954)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140440399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140440393
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #54,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

THUCYDIDES was born probably about 460BC. He took a small part in the Peloponnesian War when it broke out in 431BC. 'The Peoloponnesian War' is the only surviving source for much of the period that he describes. Some of the chronological inconsistencies have been the cause of controversy among scholars for centuries. Rex Warner 1905-1986 was a classical scholar of Wadham College, Oxford. M. I. Finley was a lecturer in Classics and then Professor of Ancient History at Cambridge. He died in 1986

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By cross5104@reed.edu on June 1 1999
Format: Paperback
Reading some of the reviews of this book seems to be almost as interesting as reading the book itself! However, I do feel the need to set the record straight on a few points. While it is true that most of the content of the speeches that Thucydides records are historically inaccurate, it is a grave fallacy to say that the facts he records are "lies." As was true of all authors of the time, Thucydides' text was written to further a political, military, and social agenda. The speeches of the work are not recorded verbatim, granted, but does that make Pericles' funeral oration any less beautiful and poignant? It reminded me very significantly of Vietnam, in all honesty. Instead of holding Thucydides to a modern historical standard, why not appreciate him for the excellent speechwriter and persuasive argumentarian that he was?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Alcat TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 22 2004
Format: Paperback
"History of the Peloponnesian War" is, superficially, merely an account of a war that happened centuries ago, the Peloponnesian War, between Athenas and Sparta. Of course, you might think that the subject is trivial to you. After all, how important can a book like that be?. Well, if you were to think that, you would be enormously mistaken.
To start with, this book is a milestone you need to be aware of. Thucydides, its author, is very possibly the first modern historian. He tried to explain the causes of the Peloponnesian War, without reducing its complexity by saying that the gods had motivated it. Thucydides doesn't follow the easy path; instead, he searches those causes in human nature, and in power. He doesn't weave tales, but tries to write History.
It is rather astonishing how objective this Athenian was when he analyzed the war, and all that happened immediately before it. He examines methodically many events, paying special attention to facts. The author also gives his opinion from time to time, but he doesn't judge whether an action is good or evil: he merely shows that those that have power can use it as they see fit. Due to that, Thucydides is called by many the first realist theoretician. I was especially taken aback by how well he expresses his ideas regarding the fact that "power makes right" in the Melian debate. I don't agree with him, but I cannot deny that he makes a powerful case, and that his point of view is shared nowadays by many noteworthy thinkers.
It is important to point out that in "History of the Peloponnesian War" you will find a painstaking account of many things that actually happened, but also some speeches that weren't made by the actors, but could have been made by them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roger Kennedy on Nov. 26 2003
Format: Paperback
All serious students of military history should read Thucydides. It took me many years to get around to him, but it was well worth it. In order to understand all the popular topics of military history, US Civil War, WW2, etc., a reading of this work should be required. So much in this book relates to the Western experience of war throughout the centuries. Indeed, this work is considered one of the original primary sources of Western History, and one can easily see why.
Thucydides speaks of human nature, which from reading him we can see has not changed much over the centuries. The clash between Athens and Sparta can rightly be considered one of the classic confrontations of all time. One a naval power and the other a land power. Such a war was bound to shack the very foundations of the classical world as the old traditions of Greek Hoplite warfare were forever changed by this conflict. Thucydides provides us a stunning portrait of city states at war. The arrogance, greed, cunning, desperation and cruelity are all there for us to see. One can chart the progress of this conflict and see the effects at had on both protagonists. Over time the original reasons for the conflict become obscure as the war takes on a life all its own, which neither side seemingly willing or able to end it. Some of the names mentioned are well known in Greek History. Pericles and Alcibiades must surely be the best known, but there are also Cleon, Brisadas and others. The character of Alcibiades must surely be the most interesting, and one that we can certainly relate to in our own times. Former US President Bill Clinton probably most resembles him. Both are brilliant men of low social character and absolute opportunists.
Pure military historians may find this book a slow read at times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Buce on Jan. 4 2004
Format: Paperback
I had a Greek teacher who loved Herodotus, and did not love Thucydides. The consequences where not, perhaps, what you might expect. In the event, when we studied Herodotus, she would chatter on about the background, the characters. When we came to Thucydides, without nearly so much to entertainer, we just read the Greek.
Good thing, too. Herodotus' Greek is not elegant, and it is not pure Attic. But it is accessible to the relative novice. Thucydides, on the other hand, is about as hard as it comes - made worse by the fact that he is most accessible where he is least interesting, which is to say in the passages of pure battle narrative. It is in the "reflective" passages - where his "characters" are trying to explain or justify their actions, or where he is simply trying to make sense of an appalling calamity - that he is most obscure.
Is this an accident? I think not. Thucydides is, after all, an originator. He is perhaps not quite the first to give us a narrative of events, but he is surely the first to try to make sense of it all. And to recognize the path taken by his own beloved country as the course of stark strategy. It is the story, in short (at least at one level) of how a nation perhaps too rich and too self assured, can go terribly wrong.
It was fashionable to cite Thucydides in the dark days of the Vietnam War. I wonder if the comparison shows us too much flattery. For Thucydides' story is not only a story about the arrogance of power. Athens at its best was a priceless treasure. Anyone can throw away an opportunity, but some opportunities are better than others.
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