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The Persian Wars, Volume 1 Audiobook

The Persian Wars, Volume 1

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Publisher's Summary

Unquestionably, Herodotus has left mankind one of the world's greatest works of literature. But what, precisely, is it? The Persian Wars is part history, part geography, part anthropology...and completely entertaining. It possesses a charm that is legendary. However, over and above this, Herodotus has succeeded for all time in brilliantly expressing the conflict between the ideal of the free man defending his liberty within a state based on the rule of law, and that of the despot who bases his rule on brute force and whose subjects are considered slaves. In his writing we experience the impact of that great intellectual, moral, and ethical force that set the Greeks apart from the rest of the Ancient World. The Persian Wars is a magnificent epic of human triumph over the forces of tyranny, of the struggle over two diametrically opposed concepts of government...between which man must still choose today.

The first four books of The Persian Wars serve as an introduction to the actual conflict itself. In this leisurely unwinding of events, people, and places, Herodotus provides the listener with a fascinating glimpse of the Ancient World. It is a marvelous journey into an exotic time filled with strange and savage tribes, beautiful cities and monuments, and - as always - born along on that inimitable charm that is unique to Herodotus.

Translation by George Rawlinson.

©2003 Audio Connoisseur

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  •  
    Ivan Valrico, FL, USA 04-06-04
    Ivan Valrico, FL, USA 04-06-04
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    "He had to collect the stories first hand."

    If Herodotus wants to give you his opinion on the vanity of the Egyptian Pharaoh Cheops, he first travels to Egypt to talk to the source (dozens of local priests, wise men, and even customers at the local taverns). Then he'll personally measure both the Cheops pyramid and his brother's pyramid to confirm that Cheops' was 40 feet taller than Dedefre's.

    He'll even take a 10 week trip up the Nile just to collect and compare stories on what is the source of that river (which he never really determines to his own satisfaction.

    Remember, this was 2400 years ago when a native escort in a canoe or a camel caravan had to substitute for a bus or plane ride. This is what I call extreme dedication (or maniacal curiosity).

    What is fact and what is fiction in the stories he collects? And do historians give Herodotus adequate credit for what he has accomplished? It makes no matter. Almost every book, every thesis, every anecdote on Ancient Western Civilization can trace its seeds back to Herodotus, the original historical reference book.

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael T Brannock 09-04-04 Member Since 2002
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    "Herodotus! II"

    Bottom line, this work is for the serious historical enthusiast. And if you are one, then it is very possible you will appreciate this as one of the most import works you have read.

    The Persian Wars is an amazing window in time, among the greatest gifts from antiquity. Undoubtedly, this is the best way to get, at least, some appreciation of the brutality, superstition, enmity, doubt, hearsay, and ridiculous speculation that completely ruled the lives of every person living 2400 years ago.

    I have found that only the ancient historians can provide us with a profound appreciation of the impact that superstition and religion had on essentially every human action. A modern historian can tell you this, but when you hear it from someone who lived then, as simply an everyday and integral part of their story, it really comes to life.

    For me, it is a jaw-dropping experience to hear how some of the most import events in history were decided by a witch doctor's interpretation of the flight of birds or of the quality of the lobes of the liver of a sacrificial victim. Neither Hollywood nor our modern educational system gives us any real appreciation of the vast quantities of animals and people who were sacrificed in ancient times for these purposes.

    You are going to need a good atlas of ancient Greece and Persia if you listen to this. These are easily found in any public library. Unfortunately, there is no single history currently available from Audible that will provide you with the background you will need. I do not think it makes any difference whether you listen to Cyril Robinson's history of Greece before listening to Herodotus Persian Wars. Both presuppose that the reader has an education of the ancient world that most people born in the twentieth century do not have. Yet, each work fills in many of the pieces lacking in the other.

    Charlton Griffin's narration is absolutely amazing. And I cannot imagine a more difficult work to narrate. MB

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benedict San Francisco, US, Canada 03-16-04
    Benedict San Francisco, US, Canada 03-16-04 Member Since 2016
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    "Herodotus!"

    I had heard of Herodotus since my boyhood but assumed he was irrelevant due to old age. However, since signing up for Audible.com I have taken a great liking to ancient histories.

    I have found the reading of this book so excellent that I thought I was listening to the author himself. The reading is so comfortable and warm that I just decided to take a trip on the river of history and let Herodotus carry me where he wished.

    The most touching and almost inspiring section was Herodotus' decription of how the Athenians felt about defending their homeland from destruction, how they felt about and valued their political and personal freedoms, and how they realized their culture was unique in the world and thus vital to save.

    Herodotus talks about the most personal habits of the various cultures he visits, and tells a great story. Sometimes his accuracy seems remarkable, and other times his observations and facts were charming but wrong. I found it interesting to hear how kings justified going to battle, and how they got their subjects to go along with them.

    Herodotus and the ancients put great faith in oracles, and I can only wonder...

    I recommend the entire book's two parts, and am looking forward to listening to reader Charlton Griffin's other readings.

    Ben

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colin Dublin , N/A, Ireland 09-29-04
    Colin Dublin , N/A, Ireland 09-29-04
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    "Better on paper, I think."

    Well, I should have been warned when listening to the sample, so it's all my fault, but Charlton Griffin's stagey, portentous narration becomes painful after a very short time, and the great words of Herodotus start to sound almost comical. Give this one a miss. I never even bothered downloading Part 2. I'll buy the actual book instead, I think.

    6 of 16 people found this review helpful
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  • Andy Allison
    Hinckley Leicesteeshire, United Kingdom
    8/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's a long haul story"

    Obviously it's history and he always uses more words than necessary but for all that it's worth it. Some tales are better than others. I didn't like the narrator's accent. But that's probably just me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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