A War Like No Other (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Victor Davis Hanson has written widely on ancient Greece and also upon war, ancient and modern, both as an academic and as a journalist. In A War Like No Other, Hanson discusses the Peloponnesian War, one of the most famous, and widely written about, of all wars prior to the nineteenth century. The Greek city-state of Athens, along with members of its empire and its many allies, and Sparta, the other iconic polis of ancient Greece, and its Peloponnesian League allies and other supporters, engaged in a bitter contest that lasted for almost four decades, from 431 until 404 b.c.e., and arguably brought to a tragic end the Golden Age of Greece. The war has had many chroniclers, beginning with the Athenian general Thucydides, who took part in the war but was cashiered by Athens’s democratic government. More recently Donald Kagan authored a four-volume work, The Peloponnesian War (2003). A reader might fairly ask, what can Hanson say that has not been said many times before?
A War Like No Other is a history of the Peloponnesian War “like no other” history of that war. Instead of writing a narrative history of the conflict, Hanson focuses upon certain themes, explicating them at considerable length. Thucydides, whose narrative ended in 410 b.c.e., several years before the war’s conclusion, composed a year-by-year account and wrote about the war’s justice and...
(The entire section is 1680 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Booklist 102, no. 2 (September 15, 2005): 21.
Commentary 120, no. 4 (November, 2005): 104-108.
Kirkus Reviews 73, no. 16 (August 15, 2005): 897.
The New York Times 155 (October 11, 2005): E9.
The New York Times Book Review 155 (October 23, 2005): 15.
Publishers Weekly 252, no. 28 (July 18, 2005): 196.
(The entire section is 28 words.)