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History of the Peloponnesian War (Great Minds Series) Paperback – June 1, 1998

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Frequently Bought Together

History of the Peloponnesian War (Great Minds Series) + Thucydides: The Peloponnesian War Book II (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics) (Greek Edition)
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Product Details

  • Series: Great Minds Series
  • Paperback: 514 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573922161
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573922166
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"An old standard that I myself used as a student. Well edited to preserve the "essence" of Thucydides."--Martin Arbagi, Wright State University

"A splendid old translation in a quality paperback format."--E.H. McKinley, Asbury College --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
As I began to read this book, and the insightful remark that people tend to find the past grander than the present was made, I thought I was reading an introduction by a modern author. Thucydides is not only a good author, but an admirably resourceful and analytical philosopher. For instance, when tidal waves were destroying towns, he was keen enough to realize that they were the result of earthquakes, instead of mindlessly writng it off to the wrath of the gods. But this history is by know means dry. His account of the plague in Athens, and the speeches and battles he recorded were all very interesting and at times extroardinarily dramatic. I think this book is the lost treasure of the library, exiled to some remote shelf, not having been checked out since 1985, binding shredded and falling off, but as they say, never judge a book by it's cover.
P.S. I'm not flaming any one, but when I read the top review on this page, I was offended. The fact that they (he, she, it)condemned this book without basis, and most likely, without reading it, probably made someone decide not to read this masterpiece.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By An A.I. Guy on December 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
Other reviewers have commented extensively on the significance of Thucydides' History and its place in the pantheon of historical literature. Given a choice of translators and publishers, my focus is on some of the characteristics of this particular edition to aid in making a purchasing decision.

This version of the History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides appears to be a reprint excerpted from an older work -- "Thucydides, translated into English, to which is prefixed an essay on inscriptions and a note on the geography of Thucydides", by Benjamin Jowett. Second edition. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1900. Jowett was a prolific translator of Greek texts. A search on his name on the Amazon site will yield a huge number of hits. The 1960 Bantam Classics edition of the History claimed Jowett's translation as definitive.

The key point I want to make is that there are neither translator notes nor historical commentary in this reprint. There is also no publisher information anywhere in this book, making it difficult to track down the sources for this edition. Furthermore, all of the editorial comments on the Amazon page for this book refer to **other** editions, not the one you are purchasing from this page, and which might erroneously lead one to believe that there is historical background included in this particular book.

Finally, this book is available as an e-book for free under Creative Commons License, according to the terms of which, I believe, this reprint should have included the original attribution that I've given here.

In summary, this book is a complete translation of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War by a well-regarded translator. It is however, a bare-bones edition without additional historical background on either the author or the content of this work.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Esquire on March 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the most objective and readable contemporary history ever written. Only in classical Greece could a work at once so sympathetic and objective be created. Thucydides was an Athenian and served as a general in their army, but first and foremost he was a Greek. Because of this he did not slander Athens' enemies or feel the need cast the Athenians' actions in a glorious, righteous light. Every chapter shines with brilliance and humanity, particularly the section on the plague which hit Athens when it was already in a crisis. I'm actually tempted to call this 2,000 year old history a page-turner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Van Wagoner VINE VOICE on March 12, 2008
Format: CD-ROM
I read Suetonius' "Twelve Caesars" before reading the "History of the Peloponnesian War" and was amazed at the contrast between the styles of the two writers. Thucydides lived more than 5 centuries earlier than Suetonius and his history is much more like a modern history. Suetonius would use rumors and discuss all of the omens that lead to certain events, which he really seemed to believe. Thucydides stuck to the facts and if soldiers believed something to be an omen, he would state it that way; he didn't seem to be superstitious like Suetonius was.

The Peloponnesian War was a very long war lasting more than 20 years. The author covers most of the arguments made by the various parties for or against war during public debate. The actions and intrigues were described very well. Treaties were described and it was clear that Thucydides used original documents in putting together his history. The fact that he was a participant (an Athenian general) in the war meant that he was probably personally acquainted with many of the main players in the war, but this did not seem to bias him one way or the other.

Many lessons can be learned from this book about war, diplomacy, government and leadership. It's easy to see why this book is considered a classic.

The translation was modern and easy to understand and the reader was effective. I do wish I had a map and list of characters with me while listening. This is probably a better book to read than to listen to since there were many times I lost track of who was on which side. It would have been nice to flip back a few pages to reorient myself. I recommend this audio book, but would suggest a hard copy as a companion also.
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