- Paperback: 752 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; Touchstone ed. edition (September 10, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684827905
- ISBN-13: 978-0684827902
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 161 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War Touchstone ed. Edition
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Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War is one of the great books in the Western tradition, as well as its first true historical narrative. Editor Robert Strassler has annotated this classic text to make it more accessible to modern readers and added dozens of maps for easy reference. A helpful introduction places Thucydides in proper historical context and a series of short appendices focus on particular aspects of life and war during the period. But the bulk of the book itself, where Thucydides chronicles the long struggle between Athens and Sparta, enjoys an unexpected freshness on these pages--partly due to Strassler's magnificent editorial labors, but mostly because it's a great story resonant with heroes, villains, bravery, desperation, and tragedy. Every library should have a copy of Thucydides in it, especially libraries on military history, and The Landmark Thucydides is without question the best version available. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Library Journal
Strassler, an unaffiliated scholar of classical studies, has remedied many of the flaws of Richard Crawley's 1874 translation of The Peloponnesian War. He has added descriptive paragraph-by-paragraph synopses, topic headers on every page, numerous maps keyed to the adjoining text, explanatory footnotes, an extensive index, an excellent introduction by Victor Davis Hanson (California State Univ.), and 11 appendixes (by various scholars) on politics, warfare, and society in the Greece of the fifth century B.C.E. What the editor has done he has done well, creating a valuable basic reference for students of ancient history. His work has only two flaws: it lacks a substantial bibliography, having only a two-page "concise" one; and the price will put it out of reach of many institutions. For academic libraries and others with large history collections.?James F. DeRoche, Alexandria, Va.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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"The Peloponnesian War" needs these extras more than most. Thucydides jumps around in his narrative and uses place names that are unfamiliar to even learned classicists. The book ends with some short essays on relevant topics, such as Spartan institutions and trireme warfare. Thucydides is an altogether difficult author, but this edition makes him easily accessible without dumbing him down. Several prominent Greek historians have contributed to this series, which shows it is not only for students, but also for more serious readers. I recommend this edition of Thucydides above all others.
Unfortunately, my fears proved true. Between the difficulty in going from text to reference and back in the different types of readers provided by Amazon, and the fact that the maps (and sometimes the illustrations) are very difficult to view, it is really impractical to use the Kindle Edition. It is hard to constantly navigate to a note and back - surprisingly more on the Amazon PC reader than on the Kindle. The maps themselves are not really readable on anything smaller than a 10" screen.
I waited four years to write this review because I figured that, as the technology improved, there would possibly be some platforms that worked better than others. Every year I tried again. This year I tried reading this book again on the following platforms: Kindle, iPad, large Android phone, and Amazon full screen PC reader. The outcome:
- Kindle, iPad, Android phone: fairly unreadable maps (except on the iPad), uncomfortable access to notes.
- Amazon PC Reader: very good view of maps and illustrations, but going back and forth on notes is difficult and frustrating.
This time I am admitting defeat :-) The best format so far is the iPad, where you can use your finger with decent precision to go to a note and back, and view illustrations in some detail. But, in the end, this type of work is simply not very usable on an ebook format yet - a real pity. The right way to use this book right now is still on paper.
I will update this review periodically - in particular if I find a workable platform. But, after 4 years of vain efforts, I do not have much hope.
UPDATE Nov 2016: This book is still largely unusable on a 2015-release Kindle.
In "The Landmark Thucydides", (editor) Robert Strassler has done everybody a huge favor, in making this book as accessible as possible. The book is heavily annotated, littered with maps and completed with annexes on subjects such as Land Warfare, Trireme Warfare, Spartan Institutions, Greek Currency and Religious Festivals.
The Peloponnesian War is not always easy to read, littered as it is with names of places, tribes, cities and coalitions, but some of the longer stories of the war a particularly rewarding (like the fatal Athenian expedition to Sicily). Also the 'Melian Dialogue' ("... the strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must.") is considered the classical example of die-hard Realpolitik.
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