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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contrary to the first reviewer, I found it AMAZINGLY honest.
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...
Published on February 15, 1999

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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bare bones edition
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...
Published on December 27, 2008 by An A.I. Guy


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contrary to the first reviewer, I found it AMAZINGLY honest., February 15, 1999
By A Customer
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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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bare bones edition, December 27, 2008
By 
An A.I. Guy (Boston, MA USA) - See all my reviews
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
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining and well-written history, March 4, 2000
By 
Esquire (Hagia Sophia) - See all my reviews
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive history - especially for its antiquity, March 12, 2008
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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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beginnings of True History, January 15, 2004
By 
Thucydides earned an honored spot among ancient writers by being one of the first to break with the old ways. Up to his time natural disasters, national defeat and personal tragedies were blamed on the "gods". This remained true even when the writers themselves doubted the existence of those beings.
Thucydides took part in the famous war between Athens and Sparta and somehow made the decision to - for the first time - write a factual historical record of the events instead of using legends and tales. He conducted interviews, traveled for first-hand investigation and laid out not only the war but the political and social conditions that surrounded the event.
If one were to judge the work based on the literary quality of the content it would be difficult to award the five stars. But the translator has made the best of an old style of writing that is detailed, pedantic and remorseless with the facts and consequences of mistakes. It is a miracle - and a blessing - that some anonymous scribe in a small room with candle and quill undertook the task of replicating his words for us almost 2,500 years later.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This translation by B Jowett is available everywhere in the ..., September 14, 2014
This translation by B Jowett is available everywhere in the internet FOR FREE, but amazon is selling it to you. Buy it, it's really a giveaway price, a bargain. Seeing what they do with other classics (I was such a clever munchkin to buy their "interlinear Herodotus", discovering later that was also for free in the web), one has to conclude that their contribution to culture is priceless.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Found this on my shelf; must have been my mother's college edition, April 19, 2014
By 
Fredric Hamber (Northern California) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
One of the small charms of this translation, first published in 1943, is the occasional footnote drawing historic parallels to pre-WWII realpolitik: the arguments made by a Syracusan statesman urging the states of Sicily to cease their infighting long enough to overthrow the Athenians might have been made by a Czech delegate to the conference of the Balkan States in the 1930's; the perceived threat of the Athenian naval forces even to inland states has its latter-day echo in the arguments Germany made about the threat of British sea power, etc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE GREATEST WORKS OF ANCIENT HISTORY, September 4, 2012
By 
Thucydides (about 460-395 BCE) was a Greek historian who is considered the first "scientific" historian, because of his lack of reference to the gods, as well as his strict standards for gathering evidence. This book tells the story of the war between Sparta and Athens, up to the year 411.

He admits in his Introduction, "In this history I have made use of set speeches some of which were delivered just before and others during the war. I have found it difficult to remember the precise words used in the speeches which I listened to myself and my various informants have experienced the same difficulty; so my method has been, while keeping as closely as possible to the general sense of the words that were actually used, to make the speakers say what, in my opinion, was called for by each situation." (Pg. 47) He adds, "My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public, but was done to last for ever." (Pg. 48)

Pericles laments, "There is often no more logic in the course of events than there is in the plans of men, and this is why we usually blame our luck when things happen in ways that we did not expect." (Pg. 119) Cleon suggests, "a city is better off with bad laws, so long as they remain fixed, than with good laws that are constantly being altered." (Pg. 213)

Brasidas (who "was not at all a bad speaker, for a Spartan"; pg. 315) said, "For it is more disgraceful, at least for those who have a name to lose, to gain one's ends by deceit which pretends to be morality than by open violence." (Pg. 317) Some Athenians asserted that "One is not so much frightened of being conquered by a power which rules over others... as of what would happen if a ruling power is attacked and defeated by its own subjects." (Pg. 402)

Any library of ancient history would benefit from this excellent edition of Thucydides' epic masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Greek Warfare and the Spartans!, April 2, 2012
Greek warfare, meanwhile, originally a limited and formalized form of conflict, was transformed into an all-out struggle between city-states, complete with atrocities on a large scale. Shattering religious and cultural taboos, devastating vast swathes of countryside, and destroying whole cities, the Peloponnesian War marked the dramatic end to the fifth century BC and the golden age of Greece. This historical and literary classic has insights on war and politics as useful today as they were over 2,300 years ago. Writing at a time of intellectual revolution in Athens, Thucydides provides a vivid account of the deadly struggle between Athens and Sparta. His is the first history to place such a contest in a secular context; human will, not mythology, becomes fundamental to the explanation of important events. Moreover, the connection between military and political activity is recognized. Though scholars still debate the accuracy of his account, Thucydides set a new standard of professionalism for the period. Length and complexity of detail make for slow reading, but a must read for the professional warrior.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They don't call them the Classics for Nothing, June 15, 2008
The reason books become classics is they convey wisdom pertanent to all ages. This history is one such classic example of Rhetoric, RealPolitik, Politics of Personality, as well as the higher themes of Honor, Loyalty, Duty, Courage. etc.
I'd give the book five stars but this translation is only adequate. I loved having the greek on the page opposite the english translation, as well as the convenient, carry-anywhere size of the text.
A must read if you wish to be considered truely educated.
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The History Of The Peloponnesian War
The History Of The Peloponnesian War by Benjamin Jowett (Paperback - February 15, 2009)
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