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on October 17, 2003
Christopher Logue has a lot of guts. He's gotten into the ring with the likes of Fagles, Lattimore, Fitzgerald, Pope, and most courageously, Homer himself - and acquitted himself well. Mr. Logue has pulled "The Iliad," into the 21st Century with less a translation than a re-write. It appears there are numerous volumes containing sections of Mr. Logue's work, and it's a little hard to keep track, but two editions offered on Amazon.com's website, "War Music," and the wondrously titled, "All Day Permanent Red," seem to contain it all.
Mr. Logue writes in a robust verse form that retains the epic language while exploring possibilities for a cinematic look on scenes and situations, as well as opening the field to modern metaphor. Unlike Barry Unsworth's interpolations in "The Songs of the Kings," Mr. Logue's don't jar, but rather deepen. A sample line, "Ajax, grim underneath his tan as Rommel after `Alamein..." lifts the story from some mythical past to something that is played out continually. A great device considering "The Iliad" is arguably the blue-print for every war story ever written.
When "War Music," opens outside the actual text of "The Iliad," and introduces us to Achilles - angry, petulant, bent on revenge, summoning his mother and laying grief for Agamemnon - Mr. Logue provides character depth missing from the original, and immediately lays out his plan to re-write and enrich rather than re-tell. His plan unfolds magnificently through both books.
I think "War Music" would work for readers with no pre-knowledge of the source, and I know it worked beautifully for me, and I've been through at least three previous translations.
Five Stars!
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on December 27, 2001
This is a flat-out triumph. Logue fills his take on Homer with dazzling imagery and stunning word-music. The Iliad falls right into our laps because Logue has given it a mighty shove. Only Professor Fagles' recent translation of the poem betters it and that is because Dr. Fagles has actually rendered the WHOLE poem in crisp, biting English that for the first time actually walks Homer up to our faces. In Fagles we can smell the breath of the blind poet, Logue brings us to the sweaty armpits.
As a styling, however, "War Music" has no peer and if Dr. Fagles has a slight edge it is because he has, after all, wrestled with the Greek text and got us into Homer's world all the way. Logue brings into the world but chooses to give us a whirlwind tour while Fagles allows us to slum awhile.
Still as much as I adore Dr. Fagles now celebrated translation, I am haunted. Logue's great re-imagining has left me shaken. The worship scenes are boffo and the Pax chapter that ends this fine "War Music" contains some of the sharpest, most moving, most eloquent, most rugged, and most manly, epic English verse since Marlowe's majestic "Tamburlaine" made kings into footstools.
And finally, there is this: As a work of English poetry, leaving Homer on the rocks for just a moment, "War Music" stands as one of the great collections of modern verse in the 20th Century.
"War Music" turns staid old men like me into groupies.
Bravo!
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on September 25, 2009
Nothing is easy. Nothing is free. Pain is the price of gain. You know the story -

Logue breathes startling and vivid life into this translation. Yes, translation.
Interesting to me (my experience) is how the presentation slipped poetically, logically from the ancient to a more sudden and visceral chronicle of events; something happening perhaps now in the Middle East or about to happen - his version seamlessly tapping into the heated river of the Iliad and then extending the argument vibrantly to the present.
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on June 27, 2016
Buy two. You'll want to give your copy after you're done reading it, mass underlines and ecstatic marginalia and all, to a literate friend. So good.
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on September 2, 2005
This is just about the best, most beautiful, most powerful poetry I've ever read. I'd also suggest this book for reading and discussion groups, as it has so much to talk about in it, while being a pretty quick read. I've been told more than once that it is very difficult for non-native English speakers, however.
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on March 31, 2017
Amazing book. Can't recommend strongly enough...
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on December 6, 2016
Awesome packaging, totally satisfied.
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on February 14, 2014
Like discovering "The Waste Land"... and extraordinary poetic accomplishment. Read it side-by-side with Pope's (for effect) and Fagle's (for clarity)...
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on December 9, 2009
I have looked for a dramatic adaptation of the Iliad for years. This is Logue, not Homer. But we don't really have Homer unless we speak, and think, Ancient Greek. So the book is excellent in so far as Logue is excellent and he is. Time and time again. Now, if a soldier were to write it we would have perfection.
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on December 20, 2014
Incredible modern take on Homer's Iliad, if you love Homer, you will love this.
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