The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan audiobook

The Peloponnesian War

By Donald Kagan
Read by Bill Wallace

Blackstone Publishing 9780670032112
19.02 Hours Unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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For almost three decades at the end of the fifth century BC the ancient world was torn apart in a conflict that was, within its historical context, as dramatic, divisive, and destructive as the great world wars of the twentieth century. The Peloponnesian War pitted Greek against Greek: the Athenians, with their glorious empire, rich legacy of democracy and political rights, and extraordinary cultural achievement, against the militaristic, oligarchic Spartan state. The result was a period of unprecedented brutality, one that violated even the rugged code that had previously governed Greek combat, and led to an enormous destruction of life and property, intensification of factional and class hostility, and a reversal of the trend toward democratic development. With these came a collapse in the habits, institutions, beliefs, and restraints that had long been the foundation of civilization. Now Donald Kagan, one of the world’s most respected historians, has written a new account of the Peloponnesian War—a lively, readable narrative that offers a richly detailed portrait of a vanished world while honoring its timeless relevance. In chronicling the rise and fall of a great empire, The Peloponnesian War illuminates the interplay of intelligence and chance in human affairs, the role of great individuals and masses of people in determining the course of events, and the potential of leadership and the limits within which it must operate. Among the brilliant portraits of extraordinary statesmen are those of Pericles, the greatest among the Athenians and a man determined to pursue a policy of deterrence, and the charismatic, duplicitous Alcibiades. Kagan captures the dynamic of war in his thrilling re-creations of some of the most famous military campaigns of antiquity. With its fresh examination of a pivotal moment of Western civilization, The Peloponnesian War is a magisterial work of historiography—a chronicle of a dark time whose lessons are especially resonant today.

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Summary

Summary

For almost three decades at the end of the fifth century BC the ancient world was torn apart in a conflict that was, within its historical context, as dramatic, divisive, and destructive as the great world wars of the twentieth century. The Peloponnesian War pitted Greek against Greek: the Athenians, with their glorious empire, rich legacy of democracy and political rights, and extraordinary cultural achievement, against the militaristic, oligarchic Spartan state. The result was a period of unprecedented brutality, one that violated even the rugged code that had previously governed Greek combat, and led to an enormous destruction of life and property, intensification of factional and class hostility, and a reversal of the trend toward democratic development. With these came a collapse in the habits, institutions, beliefs, and restraints that had long been the foundation of civilization.

Now Donald Kagan, one of the world’s most respected historians, has written a new account of the Peloponnesian War—a lively, readable narrative that offers a richly detailed portrait of a vanished world while honoring its timeless relevance. In chronicling the rise and fall of a great empire, The Peloponnesian War illuminates the interplay of intelligence and chance in human affairs, the role of great individuals and masses of people in determining the course of events, and the potential of leadership and the limits within which it must operate. Among the brilliant portraits of extraordinary statesmen are those of Pericles, the greatest among the Athenians and a man determined to pursue a policy of deterrence, and the charismatic, duplicitous Alcibiades. Kagan captures the dynamic of war in his thrilling re-creations of some of the most famous military campaigns of antiquity.

With its fresh examination of a pivotal moment of Western civilization, The Peloponnesian War is a magisterial work of historiography—a chronicle of a dark time whose lessons are especially resonant today.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Truly impressive, presenting a thorough, yet concise, erudite, yet accessible, narrative encompassing ancient Greece’s thirty-year Great War. His primary source is, of course, Thucydides’ epic history, but Kagan draws on Aristotle, Xenophon, and others to provide an objective, nuanced perspective on the military drama…It is to the author’s great credit that the war’s many characters and places are presented accessibly enough to feel relevant to modern events, two and a half millennia later. Don’t worry, Thucydides fans, the classic is safe. But Kagan’s history is excellent.” Booklist (starred review)
“Kagan…describes his intention to offer both intellectual pleasure and a source of the wisdom so many have sought by studying this war. On both aims he succeeds admirably…The contemporary history written by Thucydides is the best source for this complex story, but not the only one, and much of the value of this work lies in Kagan’s brilliant contextualization of his ancient predecessor’s work. The volume’s ultimate worth, however, lies in the perceptive, magisterial judgment Kagan brings to his account of the war that ended the glory that was ancient Greece. Kagan gives us neither heroes and villains nor victors and victims. What infuses his pages is above all a sense of agency: men making and implementing decisions that seemed right at the time however they ended. Such lessons will not be lost on contemporary readers.” Publishers Weekly
“A fresh, clear and fast-moving account…for general readers.” New York Times Book Review
“Drawing on incomparable knowledge as a classicist, international relations theorist and military historian, Donald Kagan…has devoted a single volume to guiding us through that epic of miscalculation, hubris, and strategic overreach, supplying supplemental observations and correctives to Thucydides’ classic History of the Peloponnesian War.” Washington Post
“A noteworthy history…Kagan’s sumptuous style will enthrall readers who had not imagined that they would find the topic so absorbing.” Library Journal
“The best account [of the Peloponnesian War] now available.” Los Angeles Times Book Review

Reviews

Reviews

by Logan 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Simplistic narration ruins a classic

Slightly overwrought narration ruins a book of great depth. Seek out Paul Hecht's narration of a different Kagan book on this same topic to hear how it should have been handled: with subtlety, and without bolting-on sentence-by-sentence simplistic emotional intonations. Grating but still greatness beneath.

Author

Author Bio: Donald Kagan

Author Bio: Donald Kagan

Donald Kagan is Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University, the recipient of a National Humanities Medal for 2002, and one of the preeminent scholars of ancient Greek history.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 19.02
Audience: Adult
Language: English