By the next morning, they realize that Cyrus is dead and that his allies have melted away in the night, leaving them alone trapped behind enemy lines within a few miles of the Persian capital. And only a few miles distant lies an enormous Persian army with vengeance in mind. Despair deepens when the Greek officer corps is treacherously murdered during peace talks. Alone, leaderless and hopelessly outnumbered, the Greeks nevertheless elect new officers.
Xenophon steps into the pages of history with his magnificent rallying speeches and selfless acts of courage. Follow one of history's most spirited bands of soldiers as they fight and maneuver their way through 1,500 miles of hostile territory seething with adversaries. It is an epic of courage, faith and democratic principle.
Copyright © Audio Connoisseur 2003
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.
I felt a sense of exhileration after I finished this book from the sense of having learned something about how to speak and act as a leader of men, plus I got a great sense of the history of that time.
Although it is his own account of military matters he was involved in, he sounds like one of the great leaders of all time, as well as one of the most decent. I think every soldier should read this book to understand a little bit about what a leader needs to tell his people to motivate them when their morale is waning, or to prepare them for battle.
Also, I think a great many politicians could stand to listen to this book to grasp how to talk simply and directly to people about very important matters. Xenophon leads by example and moral force rather than as a brute, and is an example of a worthy leader for our own time.
As an aside, while Xenophon was retreating from problems with the Persians who were invading the Middle East, Xenophon was attacked by the Kurds (even back then!).
This book was exceedingly well read by Charlton Griffin, by the way.
I strongly recommend this book for its own sake and for its accessibility and value to modern readers.
This book was the first Ancient history audiobook I ever downloaded from here and it completely opened my eyes to how interesting and captivating an audiobook of a beautifully written, insightful (you get a real feeling for Xenophon the man) book could be. I've since downloaded many other classics from here, but none so far has matched this book. I'm really happy I've had a chance to "read" this book, a book that I probably would never have picked off a library shelf.
...and my 6 year old daughter loves the fact that Xenophon and the Greeks complained about having to go and see the Persian king "without breakfast"
This story is read with clairty and excitement. You quickly learn why the story influenced Alexander the Great and all ancient military commanders. An army against all odds bravely retreating through hostile territory. It combines the heroicism of battle and inhumanity violent raids against helpless countryside people. A book that makes you admire war and how we should avoid it at all costs.
This was such an amazing story! I could hardly wait to take another road trip so that I could hear it again. It's a shame that such an wondrous story is lost to the majority of the public....and it's true. I hear it referenced by other philospher's and realize it was quite a feat. This is a story that needs to be spread. Would make a great movie!
There is no substitute for hearing the actual story of a person who lived 2400 years ago. If you take this into account, you will excuse the fact that sometimes the story is hard to follow. We all know that war has been a dominate feature of human history, but this story really brings home the fact that war is an integral part of being human ? so far at least. Not a pleasant revelation.
It is hard to imagine that Xenophon was as far-sighted, intelligent, modest and selfless as he portrays himself, although perhaps he was. If so, then he might well have been an even greater person then he reports, because he would probably have omitted many of his selfless acts.
If you like ancient history, then you will like this recording.
aka: Anabasis, The Persian expedition, The Expedition of Cyrus
The Reading: Excellently done. Charlton Griffin is is prime form throughout this reading and conveys the tale flawlessly with a voice that confines perfectly to the dimensions of the setting; be they awesome or subdued in nature.
The Tale: A glorious epic of genuine human feats. Xenophon projects the march of this small city of 10,000 men across Asia minor into your mind and in front of your eyes. You are also made privy to the custom and psyche of an Athenian man of his time. Democracy and didactic reasoning is shown in practice throughout this tale and the mental images I envisioned while listening to this tale were vivid, easily conjured, and immensely entertaining.
This is a translation of the original work, and as such it takes a while to get used to the differences in literary style between ancient Athenian and modern texts. The first 30 minutes are the toughest with line after line of unknown places and names. After that however, the book really begins to pull you in. Xenophon, the writer is a classic example of inspiring leadership and character. The text gives you a great insight into the daily lives of the Greek mercenaries and the role of the Greek warriors in ancient times. Thoroughly enjoyable.
I have always wanted toread this book but never found the time until I could take advantage of my automobile driving time with audible books. This was really worth it! The immediacy of the account made me feel like I was right there as it was happenning and I began to feel like I knew many of the characters personally, especially Xenophon but also Prince Cyrus. I thought the reader was a little harsh but gradually I got over it by picturing him as Xenophon as an old man telling the story of his great adventure, the march "upcountry".
"Boys Own Adventure"
It's a shame that more people don't know about Xenophon and his 10,000 Greek mercenaries. The story of their march into the heart of the Persian empire, there to see first the death of their ambitious employer and then the betrayal and murder of their leaders, followed by their retreats on foot through Persia and Armenia, Asia Minor and Thrace is one of the great adventure stories of all time.
Charlton Griffin is an odd narrator. I've found his 'plummy' accent and occasional very odd pronunciations to be a bit of a distraction on some audiobooks but it seems to work well on this one. The book has a first person narrative and the occasional oddnesses of Mr Griffin's speech lends the tale a strange remoteness which seems appropriate for a story that has come down to us from antiquity.
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