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History Of The Peloponnesian War Paperback – Sep 30 1954

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised ed. edition (Sept. 30 1954)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140440399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140440393
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Thucydides (c. 460 BC–400 BC) was a general who was exiled for his failure to defend the Greek city of Amphipolis in Thrace. During his exile, he began compiling histories and accounts of the war from various participants.

Rex Warner was a Professor of the University of Connecticut from 1964 until his retirement in He was born in 1905 and went to Wadham College, Oxford, where he gained a "first" in Classical Moderations, and took a degree in English Literature. He taught in Egypt and England, and was Director of the British Institute, Athens, from 1945 to 1947. He has written poems, novels and critical essays, has worked on films and broadcasting, and has translated many works, of which Xenophon’s History of My Time and The Persian Expedition, Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War, and Plutarch’s Lives (under the title Fall of the Roman Republic) and Moral Essays have been published in Penguin Classics.

M. I. Finley was a professor of ancient history and master of Darwin College, Cambridge. He died in 1986.

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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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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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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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Format: Paperback
I once was in the U.S. Army. As part of our job we were always encouraged to study history to see how people thought and wars were executed. No war is ever the same so what we are reading to learn is the why. There is also how people responded to different tactics and strategies.

I found this easy to read as the translation made it appear like we were reading today's news. Not just the actins but the politics of the time. There are great descriptions of the time and place. The only thing that is missing is visual maps to put the places in perspective. Luckily you can get maps of the time off the net as a supplement.

I have a paperback edition which is easily navigated and you can place sticky notes in. I also have a kindle version which you can put book marks in. the problem with the kindle is the text-to-speech has a horrible time translating place and people names. The advantage of the kindle is it moves you forward so you do not doddle. I am contemplating a hard copy for the library and reverence.

There is enough detail that it may require a second reading after you have digested the first. I am also looking for some good books to tell me what I would have noticed in this book.
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