A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Herodotus might have been the Father of History, but Xenophon was the cool, older brother. This one-time pupil of Socrates is one of those soldier/scholars who makes both intellectuals and warriors feel inadequate. 'The Persian Expedition' or 'The March of the Ten Thousand' or 'Anabasis' (all depending on your version or translation) relates the story told by Xenophon of his experiences fighting with and leading the 10,000 Hellene mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Younger and the army's 3000+ mile march into Persian.
This experience, which Will Durrant once called "one of the great adventures in human history," can be read as history, adventure story, leadership manual, or a real-life application of Socratic philosophy.
If you are going to read/listen to Thucydides, might I suggest listening to this wonderful audiobook while reading the Landmark version. There are so many places, people and changing loyalties that it really helped having the notes, maps, etc. I love the classical beauty of the Crawley translation and Bottino does a stellar job at narrating this amazing work. While I'm not one to demean anyone, I would simply suggest that the difficulties in narrating Thucydides is ORDERS of MAGNITUDE beyond most contemporary fiction or history. Narrating this book must have been a beast, and Bottino is my hero for doing such an impressive job.
For me, there is not much better than Thucydides' speeches. "The Funeral Oration of Pericles", "Diodotus to the Athenian Ecclesia", "Demosthenes to his troops at Pylos" & "Nicias before the last sea fight" are all some of the most interesting, moving and inspiring speeches and harangues ever written.
This book is a must for students of the classics, politics, history and war. Hell, even if you are just interested in a good story, Thucydides tells a mighty good one. This is an amazing, beautiful and important piece of history.
A fascinating history of both Poggio Bracciolini's persuit of fading Latin texts, focusing on Lucretius' "On the Nature of Things", and the impact that Lucretius' philosophic poem had on the development and shape of the modern world.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
In "The Importance of Being Earnest," Oscar Wilde's very upright English aristocrat Lady Bracknell says something like " I hate arguments; they are so often convincing."
Well, this book is a convincing and not-altogether-welcome argument, but an important and sobering one nevertheless. Using rock-solid evidence from lots of sources (modern and historical), Robert Kaplan tells us why we shouldn't dismiss geography as a determiner of politics simply because technology has made the world so "small". Our assumption that the whole world would be democratic if it just had the chance and the right example has tripped the US (and others) up most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq. The overturn of oppressive governments in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and potentially Syria may not be turning out the way we thought/hoped they would either.
So, woe to those who don't know or heed the lessons of history and the enormous influence that geography has always had on the peoples of the world! I suppose this should be self-evident, but it wasn't made clear in the history classes I took.
Many of the theories of geopolitical history and warfare are quite detailed and scholarly and will be more than some readers wish to explore. The lessons, though, seem to me to be essential in understanding not only the past but in preparing for the future.
These truths may be unpalatable and frightening for those of us who believe that, at heart, all human beings basically think alike and want the same things. I suspect Kaplan's more realistic and more cautionary view of the world is correct, and we should all hear about it.
I was often uncomfortable listening to this, but I recommend it highly for those who want a clear-eyed view of what may be coming in the future!