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The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
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The Peloponnesian War (original 2003; edition 2003)

by Donald Kagan

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1,051188,009 (4.03)2
Member:JeffersonBallard
Title:The Peloponnesian War
Authors:Donald Kagan
Info:New York: Viking
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:History

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The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan (2003)

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This book is wonderful because it takes Thucydides classic text--itself a wonder--and fills in the gaps, or corrects the ancient text where necessary. Thucydides is cited throughout in a manner reminiscent of the notation used to cite Biblical chapter and verse. In addition, Kagan refers to the writings of Plutarch, Xenophon, Diodorus, Socrates, Aristophanes, and others, especially for the last seven years of the war, a period Thucydides does not cover. Like any scholar worth his salt, Kagan is conversant with the scholarly consensus, with which he is for the most part in step, though he occasionally offers alternative scenarios. Much of the book is simply riveting. Like when the Spartan general Brasidas retakes Amphipolis, or the naval battle fought late in the war for control of the Hellespont. Woven throughout is the longer story of the Athenian turncoat, Alcibiades. Professor Kagan preceded this one-volume history with a four-volume history of the war that took him around 20 years to write. That 4-volume series is a much more detailed consideration of political motives and military strategy. But with this single volume, Kagan was able to produce a fast-moving tale, full of incident and colorful description. I am not a great reader of military histories; most, in my experience, are a boring slog. But because of Kagan's previous in-depth consideration of the same events, and the need to get the story told in a mere 485 pages, the result is a taut, compressed narrative that moves briskly and bears the reader delightedly along. ( )
  William345 | Jun 11, 2014 |
This book thoroughly covers the battles of the Peloponnesian war, along with the political back story of the era. The account was very detailed, and the story of Alcibaides? was quite interesting. I found the political details rather tedious after a while, and couldn't wait for the next battle. I find it amazing that the leaders were all well rounded generals who functioned as naval commanders when necessary. Generals who were active politicians. ( )
  delta351 | May 4, 2014 |
Extremely helpful overview of the people, places, politics, and dilemmas involved in the Peloponnesian War. Really opens up Thucydides' account. ( )
  KatrinkaV | Oct 30, 2013 |
a well-written account of the peloponnesian war, this book provides you with everything you want to know this period in history. It is fast-paced and never dull. It also has excellent maps that will allow you to see the grand scale of this conflict. My only comment is that all maps should have been put in one place, like at the start, so i wont be flipping around the book looking for a particular map. ( )
  zen_923 | Apr 30, 2013 |
Donald Kagan, one of the foremost scholars of Ancient Greek history, wrote a concise but thorough history of the Peloponnesian War for a general audience based off his four-volume academic masterpiece on the same subject. From the start Kagan brings the reader to the time period of the war with enough background information that someone not familiar at all with Ancient Greece will understand the circumstances of the beginning of the war from each side's viewpoint. Throughout the work, Kagan brings in a modern military and political view to help examine decisions of either side that the ancient sources' explain as social virtue or vice. This supplement to the ancient sources helps give a fuller view of the decisions of the Athenians, Spartans, and their respective allies. If you want to learn about Ancient Greek history beyond Marathon or Thermopylae, I fully recommend this book. ( )
  mattries37315 | Aug 9, 2012 |
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(Introduction): For almost three decades at the end of the fifth century B. C. the Athenian Empire fought the Spartan Alliance in a terrible war that changed the Greek world and its civilization forever.
The Great Peloponnesian War, undertaken, it was claimed, to bring freedom to the Greeks, began not with a formal declaration of war and a proud and open assault upon the homeland of imperial Athens, but with a stealthy and deceitful raid in peacetime by a powerful state against its much smaller neighbor.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142004375, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:46:07 -0400)

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. 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.… (more)

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