- File Size: 261 KB
- Print Length: 180 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: May 12, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0082VI5TM
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,096 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
Pyrrhus Makers of History Kindle Edition
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And yet, after he conquers another nation he quickly loses interest in governing it. The result is that his grip on what he has just taken over rapidly crumbles. So this mighty general-incompetent king always reacts in the same way: He just seeks out another land to conquer ... and the next ... and the next ... always staying a step ahead of the last conquest-turned-debacle he leaves behind.
This is amazing and frustrating story of Pyrrhus, second cousin to Alexander the Great. Pyrrhus was King of Epirus and, for a time, Macedon. He was the man the great general Hannibal himself named as "the greatest commander the world had ever seen."
To gain a true understanding of Pyrrhus, the reader must patiently take in a great deal of context and understand the complex relationships of the ancient world of circa 300 B.C. It was an era of tribal states, where nations of Greek-speaking peoples dominated the world, and when Rome was still a developing power. The glory of Egypt and other Middle East empires, although still significant, had long since diminished from their heights.
Alexander the Great conquered the known world between 336 B.C. and 323 B.C., but as soon as the great man died, an immediate power vacuum gaped. Alexander's many generals began vying against each other to ascend to the throne of the empire they had just helped carve out. But jealousy, rivalries, rebellious states that wanted to become "unconquered" and power-mad personalities soon threw the Mediterranean world into a boiling kind back-and-forth struggle for someone to emerge as supreme ruler of ... of ... well, as much as he could rule.
Into this milieu Pyrrhus was born, the son of Aeacides, who had ascended to the throne of Epirus upon the death of Alexander. His mother was Phthia, the daughter of a high-ranking Thessalian cavalry officer. By all accounts, Pyrrhus was handsome, charming, highly intelligent, physically powerful, gallant, a gentleman - but in possession of a ravenous appetite for war and conquest.
So in this free ebook written by the venerable 19th Century American educator JACOB. C ABBOTT, we get an extremely complete - and somewhat brief - view of the life and times of the great Pyrrhus. Abbott is among my favorite writers of short historical treatments. Most of his MAKERS OF HISTORY series are written in a style that would seem designed to be accessible to the average high school student or young adult of the mid-to-later-1800s. At the same time, these works never bore or insult the intelligence a reader of any age, and they still read fresh today.
In this biography of Pyrrhus, Mr. Abbott again works his patient magic, sifting through an enormously complex period of history, and providing us with just enough detail to not only understand the man, but the times he lived within. Reading one of Abbott's "Makers of History" series is, without fail, an enriching experience.
I would like to quote Abraham Lincoln's letter to the brothers, for it is incredibly powerful.
"I want to thank you and your brother for Abbott's series of Histories. I have not education enough to appreciate the profound works of voluminous historians, and if I had, I have no time to read them. But your series of Histories gives me, in brief compass, just that knowledge of past men and events which I need. I have read them with the greatest interest. To them I am indebted for about all the historical knowledge I have."
Some may be put-off by the oftentimes long background stories, which can get somewhat tangential to the subject. Jacob especially seems prone to this. However, I find the Abbott's bios fascinating even when they get carried away and wander a bit too far from home. As a true history lover, it is hard to loose me.
As for judgments and opinions, yes, the Brother's Abbott give them freely and without reservation. While some will no doubt consider their views dated, please keep in mind that these books were written practically two centuries ago, when people thought very differently. In most cases, however, I find their ideas to be timeless, and in this sense, quite refreshing. If only today's historians could write so passionately and sensitively.
One strength is the book's fair handed approach to describing the subject without gushing over him as so many biographers seem to be in love with their subjects. A virtue of this book is its brevity while at the same time offering some background to each situation.
Nonetheless, he often indulges too much in the background, going off on tangents that at times seem to make the book of a whole different topic.
It's also a shame that the author does not analyze in greater detail Pyrrhus' military strategy. This is, after all, a book on a military commander, one whom the author points out that Hannibul himself thought was one of the three greatest military strategists of all time. Pyrrhus deserves to be studied and his battle tactics and strategic thinking illuminated more. See Liddell Hart's books.
Unfortunately the author spends a great deal of time leading up to a conflict, which is good, but then leaves us a little dry on the strategic principles behind this great general's actions.
One particular flaw is the author's absolutely constant use of the expression "in a word..." and then goes on to explain the thought in 30 words or more. It became unbelievably annoying, and all the more so because the author shows in other areas that he can write with quite a creative and lively spirit.
If you're looking for a basic and quick read on Pyrrhus, like I was, it's worth a read, which is why I gave it three stars.