Thucydides: The wholesale Reinvention of online sale History outlet online sale

Thucydides: The wholesale Reinvention of online sale History outlet online sale

Thucydides: The wholesale Reinvention of online sale History outlet online sale

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The grandeur and power of Thucydides'' The Peloponnesian War have enthralled readers, historians, and statesmen alike for two and a half millennia, and the work and its author have had an enduring influence on those who think about international relations and war, especially in our own time. In Thucydides, Donald Kagan, one of our foremost classics scholars, illuminates the great historian and his work both by examining him in the context of his time and by considering him as a revisionist historian.


Thucydides took a spectacular leap into modernity by refusing to seek explanations for human behavior in the will of the gods, or even in the will of individuals, looking instead at the behavior of men in society. In this context, Kagan explains how The Peloponnesian War differs significantly from other accounts offered by Thucydides'' contemporaries and stands as the first modern work of political history, dramatically influencing the manner in which history has been conceptualized ever since.

From Publishers Weekly

Yale professor of classics Kagan thoroughly examines Thucydides'' life and work to successfully demonstrate that the Athenian historian was the first to utilize a truly professional (i.e., realistic and methodical) approach in recounting contemporary events. An unsuccessful general and a devoted adherent of Pericles, Thucydides believed that the Peloponnesian War was the most significant event in Greek history. He was determined that his study of the war, unlike more romantic or folkish histories, would stand the test of time because of his attention to detail; his comprehensive documentation includes symptoms of the mysterious plague afflicting Athens for the benefit of future generations, showing the historian''s far-sighted versatility. To his credit, Thucydides'' History of the Peloponnesian War remains a necessity in the study of international relations, military strategy and political science. Like his subject, Kagan ( The Peloponnesian War) tends to minimize the impact of Herodotus on the evolution of history as a discipline, yet any such weakness is offset by the inescapable fact that if Herodotus remains the acknowledged Father of History, then Thucydides could be described as the Father of Objective History, who opened the realm of history to serious study. (Nov. 2)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Acclaimed for his independence of judgment, Thucydides might have written more reliable history had he not separated himself so sharply from his contemporaries. So Kagan argues in this provocative reassessment of the great Greek historian. To be sure, Kagan acknowledges Thucydides’ singular accomplishment as the father of political history, a new intellectual enterprise based upon painstaking factual research and complete repudiation of traditional mythology. However, careful analysis repeatedly shows that in his famous account of the Peloponnesian War, the Greek historian allows his biases to intrude. Scornful of the Athenian democracy that exiled him for his own failure at Amphipolis, Thucydides interprets key events—such as Cleon’s victory at Pylos and the disastrous Athenian expedition to Sicily—as justification for his prejudices. Remarkably, in the details he himself provides, Thucydides furnishes Kagan with ample evidence for challenging the historian’s interpretations. Ultimately, Thucydides emerges as a writer so intent on discrediting the prevailing public understanding of the war that he merits the label “revisionist.” A daring approach to a cultural icon. --Bryce Christensen

About the Author

Donald Kagan is Sterling Professor of Classics and History at Yale University. His four-volume History of the Peloponnesian War is the leading scholarly work on the subject. He is also the author of many books on ancient and modern topics.

From The Washington Post

From The Washington Post''s Book World/washingtonpost.com Reviewed by Tracy Lee Simmons "The whole earth is the sepulcher of famous men," the Greek historian Thucydides wrote, and we moderns will always be ready to wake them from the slumber of their fame. One of the most eminently and, now, predictably quotable figures of the classical world, Thucydides assuredly deserves his press. Few so well understood the machinations of the human heart and mind when facing the extremities of the human predicament -- plague, betrayal, defeat and abject humiliation in war -- and fewer still could distill the hard-won wisdom of experience into tight, shimmering phrases and radiant, lapidary passages, which is why so many generations of students have had to read him. He is the favorite of Cleo, the muse of history, "to whom we turn when we have lost control," as W. H. Auden put it. It was he who described disasters "such as have occurred and always will occur as long as the nature of mankind remains the same." We have gone to him more for lessons than for facts. If Herodotus retains his proper title as the "father of history," Thucydides, his younger contemporary and author of the "History of the Peloponnesian War," an elaborate account of that bloody 30-year internecine spat between Athens and Sparta in the 5th century, B.C., might be called the father of all those historians who aspire to comprehend the past coolly, objectively, dispassionately, scientifically and without a brief for any partisan cause. He was the first sociologist. Or so we have blithely tended to believe. After spending an entire career sitting studiously at the feet of Thucydides, Donald Kagan, professor of classics and history at Yale and author of his own four-volume study of the Peloponnesian War, has drawn a bead on his most famous progenitor. The portrait that emerges, while both suitably erudite and freshly provocative, will fail to please most of those who have learned more to revere the great historian than to view him as a human being and political operator beset with all the flaws to which flesh is heir. But that is the man Kagan chooses to examine -- "the man himself in the world of action, not merely of thought." The result is less about the actual events of the past and more about how they get written up and embalmed for posterity. Kagan reminds us most saliently that, contrary to prevailing notions that Thucydides penned his work from a distant, Olympian remove, he was actually a participant -- an accomplice, really -- in the war he so eloquently and painstakingly depicted; his was a partisan''s point of view. A general high in the Athenian command earlier in the war, he was forced into exile after he lost Amphipolis to the enemy in 422. Years later, he wrote his account to defend his actions and indeed those of his class. Democracy was, he believed, ever prone to dangle before citizens the deceptive promises and baubles of demagogues like Alcibiades, at whose door he placed blame for the Sicilian debacle. And so it was Athenian democracy itself that caused Athens''s eventual defeat, not her more enlightened generals like Nicias and himself. The "History," according to Kagan, represented as much as anything else Thucydides'' apologia, not a detached rationalist''s tale of simple cause and effect. Absent from this brief but well-argued book, then, is the Thucydides some of us venerate, the one whose warnings against the less tangible depredations of war echo down the centuries -- of how, for example, language itself can suffer when the battle is joined. "Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them," he wrote. "Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness." It''s his wisdom we recall and value now, not the correctness or even the identity of his political or military alliances, however legitimately critical those may be for pinning down his historical self. We ought not to conclude, though, that Kagan''s is a work of perfervid revisionism, at least not revisionism of the pejorative kind. All historical writing is an act of revision, an exercise in re-seeing figures and events of former times in the light of new or neglected evidence. The task Kagan set himself has been to reveal the motives of the man behind the maxims, not to chip away at this monolith that remains a landmark for students of the past. bookworld@washpost.com
Copyright 2009, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

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Top reviews from the United States

F. B. Jeffery
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The tragedy of Athens and the Greek world
Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2021
I found the author''s explanation of Thucydides a revelation. It took me beyond the "founder of Western history" to a much better understanding of Thucydides as a person and as a historian. In particular, the author''s description of the disaster at Siracusa resonated with... See more
I found the author''s explanation of Thucydides a revelation. It took me beyond the "founder of Western history" to a much better understanding of Thucydides as a person and as a historian. In particular, the author''s description of the disaster at Siracusa resonated with my questions about the foundations of current (and not-so-current) American foreign policy.
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madmicah
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
really interesting book that examines Thucydides as a historian and ...
Reviewed in the United States on January 1, 2015
really interesting book that examines Thucydides as a historian and a writer and his role in shaping popular understanding and scholarship of Athens. This is not however, really a book that examines Thucydides'' legacy as a political thinker.
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W. Tappan Lum
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
a fascinating review of the books of Thucydides
Reviewed in the United States on May 18, 2012
This book is a detailed review of a 5th century BC historian ( according to many the first real historian) by a distinguished 20th century historian. Kagan''s views of the natative are very inciteful. A must book for any interested in this period of history.
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Larry Van bibber
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very enjoyable biography
Reviewed in the United States on January 24, 2014
Thucydides is an amazing historian and Kagan did a great of providing a concise account of him and the Peloponnesian war. I have read Kagan''s book on the war which I thoroughly enjoyed but I have not read the book "The Landmark Thucydides" That will take some time.
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Squirr-El
4.0 out of 5 stars
The not-so-hidden agenda
Reviewed in the United States on February 26, 2017
Thucydides: The Reinvention of History, Donald Kagan, Penguin, 2010 (2009), 257pp This book by the current eminent historian of the Peloponnesian War is about the first great study of that war, written by the pre-eminent historian of the subject, Thucydides.... See more
Thucydides: The Reinvention of History, Donald Kagan, Penguin, 2010 (2009), 257pp

This book by the current eminent historian of the Peloponnesian War is about the first great study of that war, written by the pre-eminent historian of the subject, Thucydides. Professor Kagan raises the issue of ‘hidden agendas’ is Thucydides’ work, and how Thucydides didn’t actually hide them as such, merely left certain things unsaid or un-emphasised, which modern historians, if they chose to examine them in more detail, can use to reinterpret what Thucydides appeared to be saying. The Professor is not the first to do such a thing, for I read recently a study of the campaign of King Agis of Sparta against Mantinea, published in 1933, which both Thucydides and Kagan dismiss quite briefly – whereas Professor Woodhouse dissects the campaign and Thucydides’ brief account of it in a book almost two-thirds the size of this one, and an excellent and highly recommended one it is: King Agis of Sparta and His Campaign in Arkadia in 418 B.C. . In the current book, Professor Kagan discusses several of Thucydides’ attempts to shape opinion on such aspects of the war as –

Periclean Strategy – an ‘Anaconda Plan’ which when it showed no short term results, was abandoned when military victories appeared to offer a quicker solution

Athenian Democracy – Thucydides did not approve of the ‘populist’ type of democracy in force, and wanted to show that it had a negative effect on the Athenians’ direction of the war

Thucydides’ own part in the loss of Amphipolis

That the ‘demagogue’ Cleon was a bad influence on Athenian war aims, a poor general and a personal coward, despite being a successful commander – this being the leader who had Thucydides exiled for his part in the loss of Amphipolis…

The Causes and Blame for the Sicilian Expedition – Athenian demagoguery, rather than incompetent and selfish generals (who Thucydides happened to support)

Professor Kagan points out that although Thucydides appears to bias his account of events to support his own theories (apart from Cleon’s alleged cowardice), he doesn’t actually lie about events, merely under emphasises certain aspects, and that counterbalancing information can be found or deduced from Thucydides’ own writing.

This is an extremely interesting book, if you are interested in the Peloponnesian War and its prime historical source; though if you know little or nothing about it, you may be confused by some of the discussions, as you will not have the full background to relate them to.

The Contents are –
P001: Introduction
P023: Thucydides the Revisionist
P035: Causes of the War – Corcyra
P058: Causes of the War – From Corcyra to the Megarian Decree
P075: The Strategy of Pericles
P098: Was Periclean Athens a Democracy?
P115: Cleon’s Lucky Victory at Pylos
P140: Thucydides and Cleon at Amphipolis
P162: The Decision for a Sicilian Expedition
P188: Who was Responsible for the Sicilian Disaster?
P223: Conclusion
P335: Notes
P247: Index
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Isabel S. Levinson
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Highly recommended
Reviewed in the United States on March 22, 2015
Well-written, interesting, informative
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Steven Farron
1.0 out of 5 stars
I was horrified!
Reviewed in the United States on November 12, 2020
Yesterday I received my copy and began reading eagerly. On page 4, Kagan wrote, “In 425 the latter faction [Cleon’s] was able to win a victory at Pylos that changed the course of the war. Four hundred Spartans surrendered after the battle.” After this blatantly incorrect... See more
Yesterday I received my copy and began reading eagerly. On page 4, Kagan wrote, “In 425 the latter faction [Cleon’s] was able to win a victory at Pylos that changed the course of the war. Four hundred Spartans surrendered after the battle.” After this blatantly incorrect statement about the most important event of the Archidamian War, I stopped reading. Today I read further. On page 11, Kagan clearly misrepresents Thucydides’ use of the crucially important pair of words egra and logoi. Thucydides used this contrast in different forms, but never with the meaning that Kagan assigns to logoi. On pages 13-14, Kagan quotes a sentence from Thucydides, book 3, chapter 84 and describes it as “a splendid example of Thucydides’ method.” However, every editor and commentator brackets this chapter as an un-Thucydidean interpolation. After reading that, I threw this book out.
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D.Z. Hays
3.0 out of 5 stars
The First Revisionist Historian
Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2011
Any discussion of Thucydides almost always begins with a juxtaposition of the Athenian with the Halicarnassian, Herodotus. Herodotus, who wrote before Thucydides, filled his history of the Persian Wars with colorful discussions of exotic cultures, far away kings, distant... See more
Any discussion of Thucydides almost always begins with a juxtaposition of the Athenian with the Halicarnassian, Herodotus. Herodotus, who wrote before Thucydides, filled his history of the Persian Wars with colorful discussions of exotic cultures, far away kings, distant geography, and, most notoriously, mythology. Thucydides, on the other hand, wrote with a clear and rational hand; his history of the Peloponnesian War is prized for its sharp analysis, an analysis that was unknown up until Thucydides and extremely rare thereafter. Herodotus, we now know, wrote to entertain the listener or reader; Thucydides wrote to get to the truth. Indeed, the Athenian prefaced his History with a direct shot against Herodotus: "To hear this history rehearsed, for that there be inserted in it no fables, shall be perhaps not delightful." In his own words, then, Thucydides wrote to depict objective. Later writers would share his attitude: Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that Thucydides "reports the facts without judging them," while Nietzsche noted that the Athenian was "the grand summation, the last manifestation of that strong, stern, hard matter-of-factness instinctive to the older Hellenes."

Donald Kagan, the world''s foremost scholar of the Peloponnesian Wars, in his career-long interest of Thucydides and the Wars, has discovered that the belief in Thucydides'' complete objectivity is mistaken. We must realize, says Kagan, that Thucydides was a contemporary of the topic about which he wrote; moreover, his history of the period differs from the interpretations of his contemporaries. Thus, either his contemporaries'' interpretations of events were mistaken and Thucydides'' is the truth, or (as Kagan argues in this book) Thucydides wrote to argue against his contemporaries and to put forth a different interpretation of the events of the Peloponnesian Wars. The latter is quite similar to the former, and therefore Kagan''s goal in "The Reinvention of History" is to show where Thucydides differs from the contemporary vision of events and also to show where his version of history is further from the truth than what he claims. Thucydides, we learn, was less than objective, and, to use a dirty word, had an "agenda". What his agenda was is somewhat mysterious, and I do not think Kagan did a good job at addressing this issue: perhaps Thucydides was sour over his loss of Amphipolis and subsequent exile; or perhaps he hated democracy.

For example, many of Thucydides'' contemporaries believed that the Peloponnesian War was a direct result of Pericles'' militancy, while Thucydides himself believed that the growth of the Athenian empire played a huge role in a long series of inevitabilities that led to the war. Exactly why Thucydides chose to blame the war on Athens'' empire remains a mystery, as Kagan does not address this. Thucydides would also say that under Pericles, Athens was not a democracy, but "in fact a government ruled by its foremost citizen," i.e. Pericles. However, a detailed examination of the workings of Athenian government at this time reveals that Pericles did not "rule" over Athens indefinitely, but was restrained by many checks and balances. Here again, says Kagan, Thucydides puts a spin on things, and the Athenian would later go on to extoll Pericles and aristocratic leadership at the expense of what he perceived to be a mobocracy that was ever too ready to change course on the slightest whim.

Perhaps, then, Thucydides was a blue blooded defender of the aristocracy, who couldn''t help but see Athens'' defeat against Sparta as a result of the perils of democracy, but Kagan never goes this far to say so. Another warning to the prospective reader: this book is dreadfully boring, and one reviewer on this page has noted that much of the book is copied from Kagan''s own history of the Peloponnesian Wars. The result---this book--- is a history of the Peloponnesian Wars with a few paragraphs about Thucydides thrown in here and there, pointing out where the Athenian''s account of history differs from that of his contemporaries''. The most valuable thing to take away from this book---and it is indeed valuable---is the notion that Thucydides, while still a great historian, is not the bastion of objectivity that many today idolize him to be. He was, in Kagan''s words, the first revisionist historian.
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S. Smith
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Defence of Political History
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 2, 2018
I have read and re-read Donald Kagan’s four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War and, to most who have read that outstanding work, his book on Thucydides will be disappointing. For someone who has not read either that full history of the war or its one-volume condensed...See more
I have read and re-read Donald Kagan’s four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War and, to most who have read that outstanding work, his book on Thucydides will be disappointing. For someone who has not read either that full history of the war or its one-volume condensed version, it is a concise summary of Kagan’s view on the standing of Thucydides as a historian and a critique of his methods. However, large sections of the text are lifted straight from his earlier works with, at most, minor corrections. The Introduction and the Conclusion, apart from being repeats of earlier works and other concerns, have as much to do with Kagan’s own political views as with Thucydides. On a positive note, the nine chapters forming the body of the book set out Kagan’s view that Thucydides was a revisionist who tried to contradict views about the war held by many of his contemporaries. Although Thucydides claimed to be impartial, Kagan shows he was sometimes deliberately misleading in his presentation and that those generally-held views were more likely to be correct than Thucydides’ revisions. These include his attempting to minimise the responsibility of Pericles for starting the Peloponnesian War and proposing a strategy that had to succeed quickly or bankrupt Athens, ignoring the successes of later leaders who abandoned Pericles’ strategy or attributing them as mere chance and minimising the responsibility of Nicias, whose policies followed those of Pericles, for the disaster in Sicily. However, although Kagan provides some background information, these issues were probably better considered in the context of a narrative of the events they relate to, as they were in Kagan’s history of the war, rather than in isolation. On the other hand, the volumes of Kagan’s history of the war were published up to 40 years ago, long before the contributions of more recent researchers. The passages recycled from his earlier works are not modified on account of later interpretations, so the whole does not present a coherent and considered final opinion. The period from the late 1960s to the 2000s was also that when Kagan began to express his defence of history as a search for the truth through detailed and objective research, not just to explain events, but also to provide examples, give warnings and indicate likely developments in human affairs by reference to the past: the approach first adopted by Thucydides. Just as Kagan shows that Thucydides had an agenda, Kagan’s agenda is a plea for politics, wars and diplomacy to be studied as the central themes of history rather than just trivial and short-term compared to the society, economy and geography of the peoples and places studied. Kagan regrets that social and economic history is replacing political history as the proper object for the study of history. His history of the Peloponnesian War is an outstanding contribution to the form of historical enquiry on which he has spent his career. This cut-and-paste consideration of Thucydides is, however, hardly the best support for his advocacy of political history.
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diamanti lucio
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Because is smaller more easy to hand
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 16, 2016
It is a revised edition in some part with the same words and figures of the book "The pelloponesian war". Practically a book focusing only some aspect of the war. Because is smaller more easy to hand!!
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Dimitrios Siountris
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The true father of history
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 28, 2013
Kagan''s well-written account of Thucydides reaffirms why he is rightly seen as the father of history. Kagan explains how Thucydides gathered his information, how he cross-checked his facts, and how he tried to maintain objectivity, as any modern historian would.
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S. Papanastasiou
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 17, 2013
Not as good as Kagan''s superlative The Peloponnesian War book but only because of the subject matter; wars are, for most I suspect, inherently more exciting than arguing historical fact. The twist here is that Kagan does what Thucydides did to his predecessors; he argues...See more
Not as good as Kagan''s superlative The Peloponnesian War book but only because of the subject matter; wars are, for most I suspect, inherently more exciting than arguing historical fact. The twist here is that Kagan does what Thucydides did to his predecessors; he argues convincingly against the ancient historian''s interpretation of the Peloponnesian War, thereby "re-inventing history". Donald Kagan''s writing style is both elegant and concise as one who has read The Peloponnesian War might expect. However, if you have not read that then get it, read it and then come back and get this one.
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Will Staffs
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A219 / A275 Open University
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 26, 2013
If you are reading either or both of the above courses this makes an excellent companion. It gives additional context that cannot be covered in the course collateral - beautifully written and a superb accessory to any serious student or enthusiast.
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Thucydides: The wholesale Reinvention of online sale History outlet online sale

Thucydides: The wholesale Reinvention of online sale History outlet online sale

Thucydides: The wholesale Reinvention of online sale History outlet online sale

Thucydides: The wholesale Reinvention of online sale History outlet online sale

Thucydides: The wholesale Reinvention of online sale History outlet online sale

Thucydides: The wholesale Reinvention of online sale History outlet online sale

Thucydides: The wholesale Reinvention of online sale History outlet online sale

Thucydides: The wholesale Reinvention of online sale History outlet online sale

Thucydides: The wholesale Reinvention of online sale History outlet online sale

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