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Paperback On Justice, Power, and Human Nature: Selections from the History of the Peloponnesian War Book

ISBN: 0872201686

ISBN13: 9780872201682

On Justice, Power, and Human Nature: Selections from the History of the Peloponnesian War

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Book Overview

Designed for students with little or no background in ancient Greek language and culture, this collection of extracts from The History of the Peloponnesian War includes those passages that shed most... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Greatest of All Greek Historians

The greatest of all Greek historians was the Athenian general Thucydides (455-400 B.C.E.). Thucydides' classic work, "History Of The Peloponnesian War", provides us with the historical framework for 5th century Greece, a golden age of intellectual achievement and creativity rarely equaled in human history. This history is by far the best account of the bitter war between Athens and Sparta as well as the only surviving contemporary record of the rise of the Athenian empire. Thucydides as a master storyteller does not just cover the battle scenes; he records the great political speeches of Pericles, leader of Athens, and Lysander leader of Sparta with great acumen. He is recognized as the first historian to actually go and get eyewitness accounts, visit battlefieilds and research documents and records. This work took him over 20 years and it shows! The lessons he teaches about imperial over reaching and unreasonable peace settlements are prescient today as they were during his times. President Woodrow Wilson, read this book on his voyage across the Atlantic to the Versailles Peace Conference and vociferously fought the other Allies in making unreasonable demands of the Germans. Wilson learned the dangers that the world would be placed in by backing the Germans into a corner politically and economically from Thucydides book. I never before recommended reading an abridged work of history; however, Paul Woodruff does the best job of abridging Thucydides that I have ever come across in historical texts. He gives you the basic narrative and makes sure to include all of the important orations and debates from the original work. As a graduate student in philosophy and history, I heartily recommend this timeless classic to anyone who is interested in political philosophy, and history. I also recommend you read it with David Cartwright's "A Historical Commentary On Thucydides."

Philosophy; Tragic History; and Greek Geopolitics

I agree with the first reviewer: this book is a great condensation of Thucydides' work. The book is editted to retain all of Thucydides' great insights into human nature, power, and politics, but summarized in a way where all of the essential details of the story are left in place. With its sweeping description of events in various areas of the Greece, and its dramatic portrayal of historic figures: the book works as a great description of the nature of politics, democracy and war, and at the same time an engaging study of leadership, and the men who were perported to be great during these times. Daniel

A Great Distillation of Thucydides' Genius

I can't think of another abridgment of a classic more after my own heart. I am a passionate believer in reading all of Thucydides, but this book is still the ideal way to get to know what is great about the historian. (And, as our democracy is at war & struggles with imperial entanglements, Thuc. is more relevant than ever.)Basically, Woodruff has an unerring instinct for where Thucydides (not a mere fact-compiler, but one of antiquity's great thinkers) is at his sizzling & profound best. The introduction is a marvelous piece of criticism and analysis: in merely 24 pp. it acquaints the reader with Thucydides' important ideas. The idea of this book is to give you 185 pp. to read cover-to-cover (if not in a single sitting!--what are you waiting for?--do it, and blow your mind). Woodruff's connecting summaries & brief introductory comments to each excerpt make sure that readers will experience the whole coherently.My one quibble is that I'd like to have the defeat of the Sicilian Expedition & its aftermath in all its gruesome detail, but this would have almost doubled the size of the book and defeated the purposes I've praised above. For a complete translation, try Lattimore (also pub. by Hackett)--or, if 17th c. English doesn't bother you, Hobbes' translation is a real treat to savor.
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