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The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War MP3 CD – Bargain Price, October 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio on MP3-CD; MP3 Una edition (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423399218
  • ASIN: B007K4MING
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,929,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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



--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

The material is fascinating, the recording is excellent.
Harrison J. Donnelly
It is a lovely, gripping book, and I am surprised at one of the commentator here who said negligently he had read it over his lunch hour.
Bookman
Overall this is an informative and entertaining book that offers something to anyone even remotely interested in the Homeric epics.
J. Moran

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

131 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Berschauer on 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.
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 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.
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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful By J. Moran VINE VOICE on 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.
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57 of 72 people found the following review helpful By C. Hutton on 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.
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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.

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