Peloponnesian War: Athens, Sparta and the Struggle for Greece
  • Peloponnesian War: Athens, Sparta and the Struggle for Greece
  • Peloponnesian War: Athens, Sparta and the Struggle for Greece

Peloponnesian War: Athens, Sparta and the Struggle for Greece

by Nigel Bagnall
     
 

The Peloponnesian War, the epic struggle between Athens and Sparta, occupies a vital part in military history because of the enormous military and political changes it inspired. In this brilliant book, Sir Nigel Bagnall sets out to analyze and clarify the war, describing in compelling detail the events that led up to it. His meticulous attention to

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Overview

The Peloponnesian War, the epic struggle between Athens and Sparta, occupies a vital part in military history because of the enormous military and political changes it inspired. In this brilliant book, Sir Nigel Bagnall sets out to analyze and clarify the war, describing in compelling detail the events that led up to it. His meticulous attention to historical context offers a refreshing contrast to traditional accounts.

The conflict lasted from 431 to 404 B.C., until the confederation led by Sparta finally conquered Athens and her allies. Bagnall dissects the complex relationship between the two states and closely studies their political conduct in the run-up to war, offering a riveting account of the strategy and tactics involved.

He also outlines its innovations and lessons, which would have enormous military repercussions for future generations. These include the importance of having clear politico-strategic objectives, the interplay of maritime and land operations, and the problems of achieving cohesion in an alliance in which all the participants see themselves as fellow citizens.

The Peloponnesian War is an important book that shines new light on an always relevant subject.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Students and enthusiasts of ancient Greece and military history will welcome this excellent perspective on a watershed event." —-Publishers Weekly

British Praise for The Peloponnesian War

"One of the best books on this complicated conflict."

—-Good Book Guide

"Bagnall's analysis . . . [has] powerful contemporary resonances."

—-The Independent

Praise for The Punic Wars

"A fine work of military history and a lucid guide to the subject."

—-New York Sun

"[Bagnall's] expertise finds fruitful application in his examination of the Punic Wars. . . . Ancient-history buffs . . . will be eager for Bagnall's concise and elegant insights."

—-Booklist

"Offers a clear and well-organized military history."

—-Publishers Weekly

"A fine piece of military and political history . . . a clear and convincing account of what happened."

—-Economist

"A serious and well-informed book on the wars between Rome and Carthage. Gives much food for reflection."

—-Spectator (UK)

Library Journal
The Peloponnesian War, a pivotal period in history, benefits from the late military historian Sir Nigel Bagnall's analysis of the strategy and tactics used by Greek city-states Sparta and Athens in their 27-year-long conflict (431-04 B.C.E.). Bagnall (The Punic Wars: Rome, Carthage, and the Struggle for the Mediterranean), who passed away in 2002, had been the British army's chief of the general staff until his retirement. In his final work, he brings a military perspective to the colossal struggle between the two powers, whose opposing strengths, though distinct, made them such a match for each other. He also makes comparisons to familiar 20th-century figures and conflicts that will aid reader understanding. The politics and social background to the conflict are not neglected, however, with such key characters as Pericles of Athens well fleshed out by the author. Bagnall provides a historical survey section with good reference material for readers who may struggle to keep track of which side the city-states in Greece allied themselves with during the war. Well written and researched, with maps of the campaign theaters and a list of principal characters, this work is recommended for larger public and all academic library collections. Sean Michael Fleming, Lebanon P. L., NH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Methodical account of the historic battle between Athens and Sparta that also examines the conflict's origins and its effects on future military regimes. Bagnall's pages strain under a wealth of information as the late British soldier and scholar (1927-2002) strives to detail every facet of the Peloponnesian War. He begins his companion piece to The Punic Wars (1990) by indicating that the book is laid out in much the same way as its predecessor. Various maps delineate the regions affected; a subsequent brief overview sketches the major characters involved. But brevity isn't really this author's forte, so the background material is followed by an assiduously researched chapter ("An Historical Survey") that conveys a welter of information about the various areas. Bagnall carefully builds up to the outbreak of war in 431 b.c. by examining how the Athenian lust for power and supremacy ultimately led to the conflict, then lets loose with his lengthy account of the war in "The Central Theatre." As battles occasionally occur on small yet significant islands, some cross-referencing to the author's earlier accounts of various places and characters may be necessary for the casual reader, although Bagnall always takes the time to examine how figures such as Athenian generals Pericles and Demosthenes fared in the midst of the war. It endured for an incredible 27 years-albeit with a six-year truce known as the Peace of Nicias, which began in 421 b.c.-every one of them recounted here in dry, heavily academic prose. The author doesn't spend much time looking at the far-reaching effects the Spartans' victory had on the globe, instead choosing to retool his epilogue from The Punic Wars tobriefly examine how military procedures were irrevocably changed by the war. Likely to appeal only to military history buffs.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312342159
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
07/25/2006
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.52(h) x 1.08(d)

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