Start reading The War That Killed Achilles on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Add Audible Narration
Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available
 

The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War [Kindle Edition]

Caroline Alexander
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
Kindle Price: $11.84
You Save: $5.16 (30%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Audible Narration

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration with Whispersync for Voice. Add narration for a reduced price of $4.49 when you buy the Kindle book.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $11.84  
Hardcover --  
Paperback $14.09  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $17.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
MP3 CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged $22.49  
Literature & Fiction Books for $1.99 Each
Now through March 11, select literature & fiction Kindle books are $1.99 each. Browse the full selection to find your next great read.

Book Description

"Spectacular and constantly surprising."
-Ken Burns


Written with the authority of a scholar and the vigor of a bestselling narrative historian, The War That Killed Achilles is a superb and utterly timely presentation of one of the timeless stories of Western civilization. As she did in The Endurance and The Bounty, New York Times bestselling author Caroline Alexander has taken apart a narrative we think we know and put it back together in a way that lets us see its true power. In the process, she reveals the intended theme of Homer's masterwork-the tragic lessons of war and its enduring devastation.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"In her spectacular and constantly surprising new book, Caroline Alexander has taken the 'original' war book and turned it upside down, making it, as all wars are, an excruciating story of loss...The War that Killed Achilles is a triumph."
-Ken Burns

"This riveting tale of ancient wars, legendary warriors, and mythical gods is at once a great adventure story and a cautionary tale of the enduring perils of hubris and ego. Achilles' life and death are instructive lessons for all of us today."
-Tom Brokaw

"Spirited and provocative...a nobly bold even rousing venture...it would be hard to find a faster, livelier, more compact introduction to such a great range of recent Iliadic explorations."
-Steve Coates, The New York Times

"Penetrating...reflecting her own skills [Alexander] provides her own translation of an entire chapter...a real bonus for the reader, comparing favorably with Lattimore and Fagles."
-Boston Globe



Review

"In her spectacular and constantly surprising new book, Caroline Alexander has taken the 'original' war book and turned it upside down, making it, as all wars are, an excruciating story of loss...The War that Killed Achilles is a triumph."
-Ken Burns

"This riveting tale of ancient wars, legendary warriors, and mythical gods is at once a great adventure story and a cautionary tale of the enduring perils of hubris and ego. Achilles' life and death are instructive lessons for all of us today."
-Tom Brokaw

"Spirited and provocative...a nobly bold even rousing venture...it would be hard to find a faster, livelier, more compact introduction to such a great range of recent Iliadic explorations."
-Steve Coates, The New York Times

"Penetrating...reflecting her own skills [Alexander] provides her own translation of an entire chapter...a real bonus for the reader, comparing favorably with Lattimore and Fagles."
-Boston Globe


Product Details

  • File Size: 863 KB
  • Print Length: 332 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0670021121
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (October 15, 2009)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002QBV8H0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #426,358 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
131 of 134 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, but not in a bad way November 19, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Because I failed to "read the label" when I picked this book up, I had the completely wrong impression that "The War that Killed Achilles" was going to be a historical rendering of the real Trojan War. I didn't know there was enough information for a true history on this topic, so off I went to the library.

It didn't take long, even for me, to realize that this was an interpretation of The Iliad. Appropriately, as fate would have it, I'd had Homer's Iliad and Odyssey sitting on my bookshelf for well over a year. Many good intentions to crack the cover sat next to these works, collecting just as much dust as my handsome 2-volume set complete with stylish cardboard box. I admit it - I had been too intimidated to start them given the length, my experience with Euripides and Sophocles in high school, and the fact I had almost no context for these classics.

Enter Caroline Alexander stage right. Not only does Ms Alexander provide her interpretation of the key themes of The Iliad in simple enough language that I can follow, she provides the context which would make an actual attempt at reading The Iliad possible. Homer's many references to the mindset of 8th Century BC Greeks and contemporary (read: also really old) works would have been completely lost on me, and the accumulation very likely would have left me hating myself for trying.

I'm not well-read in the classics, but I now feel like I have some minimum degree of context to give The Iliad the ol' college try - it doesn't seem quite as intimidating as it did a few days ago. I hope a companion volume entitled "The Voyage that let Odysseus' Dinner Grow Cold" follows.

As of this writing there is one 1-star review which abuses Ms Alexander for wasting the reviewer's time with trivial information about The Iliad. That reviewer, obviously very learned in this subject matter, is not Ms Alexander's intended audience... I am.
Was this review helpful to you?
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different look at the Trojan War November 21, 2009
Format:Hardcover
The Iliad's Trojan War has always been portrayed as a war unlike any other war. A war full of opportunities for glory, bravery, loyalty, a personal fulfillment of destiny... But Caroline Alexander, with deft scholarship, shows that there has been a misreading of the Iliad, purposefully, that in the past could convince and justify young men going to war. Think of the generations of British school boys reading the Greeks (certainly prior to World War I) and being told that there was glory in war. Alexander shows that, instead, the Iliad actually shows the sadness and loss, the irremedial end of things that comes with war. And using the text, she shows that the main players are aware of it, too.

In addition, this book has a wealth of information in the footnotes. I never knew, for example, that Paris was Alexandu of Wilusa (probably, maybe) in Hittite documents. That piece of trivia will serve me well in many a discussion of the Trojan War :) . But seriously, it IS interesting that she places the war in the context of its era, and discusses many aspects of Greece and eastern coast of Turkey during that period.

I bought this book as an impulse buy at an airport bookstore, and might never have found it otherwise. That is a shame because it is a truly interesting and well written book that will please both the scholar and the general reader like myself.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alexander's Main Theory Dies Too February 20, 2010
Format:Hardcover
Author Alexander's main points in this book seem to be that war is cruel, vicious and senseless, that most of those fighting in one have no personal reason to be fighting, little idea what the war is about and would rather not be risking their lives, that they are often following orders that seem to make no sense, that war leaders may be inept, that many lives (mostly young ones) will be brutally snuffed out and that there are few real winners in war. While certainly worthy of frequent repetition, these are commonplace observations.

In addition, she believes that the "Iliad" is not about the epic glory of war at all but is instead a deeply ironic antiwar work that has been misunderstood for nearly thirty centuries. This is her central idea and is a far from commonplace observation, but it requires evidence and careful argument to establish. Alexander fails to provide these.

Indeed Alexander does not attempt to make a systematic argument in support of her insight. She relies instead on scattered textual passages from the poem and other classical sources to support her point.

Thus, for example, she looks repeatedly to a few passages in which Achilles himself states that he has no personal reason to fight the Trojans and would rather be waging peace at home than war at Troy. Two such passages are referenced more than once: One is Achilles' statement to the effect that he would advise other Greek warriors to sail home and live in peace. The other is a statement from the "Odyssey" in which Achilles' ghost in the underworld tells Odysseus that he (Achilles) would rather be alive as someone's serf than be king of the underworld. Alexander also makes much of what she sees as Achilles' supposed challenge to Agamemnon's status as leader of the Greeks.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
57 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Trojan War From A Scholar October 17, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Caroline Alexander does superb research as seen in her other books, "The Endurance" (1998) and "The Bounty" (2003). Here she does a running commentary upon "The Iliad" of Homer, quoting and summarizing to tell the tale of the Trojan War. If the reader wants the entire story, they are directed to Robert Fagles' translation edition (1990) which is my favorite. The author explains the background story well and points out the choices made by the characters (Greek gods and humans). At its heart, she asks, why all the slaughter? Ms. Alexander is an excellent writer and this short (nearly three hundred pages) book could be read in two nights.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars ... provides an insight into the Iliad that makes the great classic...
This book provides an insight into the Iliad that makes the great classic easy to follow, understandable, and even pleasant to read without having to pick apart the olden day... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Forrest Salgado
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Study to Read After Finishing the Iliad
Generations have read the Iliad, but each society emphasizes the message it wants its members to inculcate. Read more
Published 2 months ago by LFD
5.0 out of 5 stars “The greatest war story ever told commemorates a war that established...
Caroline Alexander, The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer’s Iliad and the Trojan War (New York: Viking Press, 2010). Read more
Published 3 months ago by Christian Potholm
5.0 out of 5 stars what to read instead of Cliff's Notes of the Iliad
we'll written for the non-classicist, explains backstory and the oral tradition of the Gods and their strengths and failings. Read more
Published 10 months ago by ELIZABETH A IBSEN
3.0 out of 5 stars Blessed are the geek ...
This is an easily read and quite interesting discussion on the Iliad, from the view point of one actor, Achilles. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Nils Gustaf Lindgren
4.0 out of 5 stars very useful
Even if I am not a linguistic expert - but just a curious and avid student of archaic rome and etruscan, this book is extremely informative to get a detailed and insightful summary... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Paolo Feraboli
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking
I loved this book. I had been taught about "Achilles hiding in his tent" and the such. It is an anti-war book, sold often by selective quotes to glorify war. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Frank Blair
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Analysis
This book was an analysis of war in general and its' effect on soldiers and civilians. Additionally, the story of the Trojan War in plain English, rather than prose, led to a... Read more
Published 20 months ago by N. Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars The WAr that killed Achilles
Great book I have read a lot of Greek Mythology books and this is one of the better ones. Great book for all ages. thank you
Published 20 months ago by Crystal D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
Since I find the issues surrounding the Trojan war and its heroes to be fascinating, this work is particularly interesting. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Bonita Romeo
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Caroline Alexander was born in Florida, of British parents and has lived in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. She studied philosophy and theology at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar and has a doctorate in classics from Columbia University. She is the author of the best-selling The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition which has been translated into thirteen languages. She writes frequently for The New Yorker and National Geographic, and she is the author of four other books, including Mrs Chippy's Last Expedition, the journal of the Endurance's ship's cat.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Forums

There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Look for Similar Items by Category