Marathon: The Battle That Changed Western Civilization

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Published to coincide with Marathon's 2500th anniversary, a riveting history of the historic battle

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Marathon: The Battle That Changed Western Civilization

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Published to coincide with Marathon's 2500th anniversary, a riveting history of the historic battle

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
How many books get to use a blurb saying "just in time for the battle's 2500th anniversary"? In this popular account of the triumph of Athens, classicist Billows (history, Columbia Univ.) describes the pathways that led the vast Persian Empire and the tiny Greek city-state to meet in battle at Marathon in 490 B.C.E. Although defeated by the smaller Greek force in battle, the undaunted Persians were to return ten years later with even more overpowering force only to be turned away again by allied Greek city-states. Billows argues that success at Marathon taught the Greeks that the Persians could be defeated, thus inspiring the later victory. VERDICT The Battle of Marathon itself takes up only 30 pages of this book—so followers of military history should understand this is actually a history of the Greek-Persian conflict covering hundreds of years and culminating in that battle. Billows also spends a lot of time on the certainly unprovable and perhaps pointless assertion that there would be no "Western civilization" had the Greeks lost at Marathon. Otherwise, this fast-moving summary of the Greek-Persian conflict will serve as a good introduction on the occasion of the 2500th anniversary—so mark your calendars for August 11.—Stewart Desmond, New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590205686
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 699,681
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard A. Billows, Ph.D., is a professor at Columbia University specializing in Ancient Greek and Roman history and Greek epigraphy. In addition to Marathon he is the author of Antigonos the One-Eyed and the Creation of the Hellenistic State, Kings and Colonists: Aspects of Macedonian Imperialism, and Julius Caesar: The Colossus of Rome. He lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Could Be Better

    Not very interesting and hard to maintain my attention. The author also beats around the bush too much. I think he should stay more on track with the battle and how it personally changed the world. Sometimes he doesn't always stay on this topic. But overall I think it's a good historical read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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