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The Greco-Persian Wars Paperback – October 15, 1998
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The Greco-Persian Wars is full of wonderful stories featuring bravery, cowardice, and treachery. Unlike so many of his fellow historians, Green understands the importance of a dramatic narrative, sometimes employing novelistic techniques to relate what happened. It's not an overstatement to say that the course of Western history might have taken a strikingly unfamiliar turn if these battles had had different outcomes. Green is a natural storyteller, and The Greco-Persian Wars is a delight to read, even for readers who have no background or special interest in the classical world. --John J. Miller
From The New Yorker
Top Customer Reviews
Green resurrects Themistocles, in all his martial splendor, from the elitist dismissals of Herodotus, to show that Themistocles' naval genius and personal courage saved the day despite the intense and ongoing city-state rivalries and a monied and powerful Athenian majority which preferred a Marathon-like ground engagement. The Greco-Persian Wars, despite its' generic title, is an outstanding tale of heroism, bravery, and perserverence that deserves the attention of any history connoisseur. Read this book. It is outstanding!
Peter Green does a superb job in assimilating the well-documented wars between Greece and Persia early in the Fifth Century BC. Relying on the ancient writings of Herodotus, Xenophon, Plutarch and others, Green analyzes every situation during this period. We know not just names, places and dates but how strategy unfolded and a careful analysis that the leaders had to evaluate. War became like a chess game of position, analysis of the strengths and weakness of all positions, and a bit of guile. The stakes were high. Persia had the mightiest empire ever created. Greece wasn't even a nation, but a collection of city-states, often at war with each other. The Persian threat would force Greeks to come together as a nation. Could they do it? Green takes us through the trials and travails of this effort. Many Greek city-states collaborated with the Persians. In fact, the whole of northern and central Greece did. In many cases ousted leaders sought Persian help to get back to power; they may have been at war with other city-states; or they may simply have chosen earth and water to death and destruction.
The Athenians and Spartans would have to overcome their differences to get rid of the Persian menace from Greece. At times they would work together but generally as soon as the immediate threat was over they would go their separate ways again.Read more ›
Green does an exceptional job of comparing and contrasting the ancient sources of information on the period, Herodotus, Plutarch, Aeschylus etc. and weaves them together with the modern scholarship of Burn and Pritchett etc. while injecting his own theories to provide a narrative that brings both the players and their times vividly to life.
Green takes Herodotus to task for bias and obvious propagandistic nonsense early and often and with common sense and logic corrects many of the more egregious errors of the primary sources, in particular the size of Xerxes army, specifically the probable confusion between chiliarchs (commander of 1,000 men) and myriarchs (commander of 10,000 men). Using Munro and Maurice among others he corrects the likely decimal error in Herodotus's calculation of the size of Xerxes army. Reducing it from a phantasmagorical 1.7 million men to more credible 170,000 infantry with another 40,000 cavalry, quisling Greeks and miscellaneous others.
Add in no small amount of irreverent levity and you have the perfect tract on what Thomas Cahill (How the Irish Saved Civilization) refers to as a "hinge" of history.
In two words, BUY IT!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If viewing the sheer size of the book makes one feel this would be difficult read, fear not. This is a very readable and enjoyable book.Published 5 months ago by caylerman
Great book, for anyone interested at all in the period. Anything Peter Green is worth a read.Published 8 months ago by Roo
Was actually used as a textbook for a class on the Persian invasions of Greece. Book was, I thought, very well written. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Paying Customer
This is an exception book. It is the best non-academic book on the subject which I have read in thirty years. Exceptional detail, great footnotes and a very good bibliography. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Robert Fuentes
Like most works by professional historians, this work suffers a bit from being overly technical, but despite an excess of scholarly disputations and arguments the excitement of the... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Al Singh
I wanted to better understand these wars and the dynamic between Greece and Persia after reading the book of Esther in the Bible. Read morePublished on January 2, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Peter Green's book "The Greco-Persian Wars" provides a deep, analytic look at one of the most important periods in ancient Greek history. Read morePublished on December 28, 2013 by Doktor Faustus
This book was first published in 1970. It shows its age but remains the best account of the Greco-Persian wars, despite numerous and more recent publications. Read morePublished on October 15, 2012 by JPS