• The Plague of War: Athens, Sparta, and the Struggle for Ancient Greece

  • Ancient Warfare and Civilization Series
  • By: Jennifer T. Roberts
  • Narrated by: Anne Flosnik
  • Length: 13 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Ancient History
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

In 431 BC, the long simmering rivalry between the city-states of Athens and Sparta erupted into open warfare, and for more than a generation the two were locked in a life-and-death struggle. The war embroiled the entire Greek world, provoking years of butchery previously unparalleled in ancient Greece. Whole cities were exterminated, their men killed, their women and children enslaved. While the war is commonly believed to have ended with the capture of the Athenian navy in 405 and the subsequent starvation of Athens, fighting in Greece would continue for several decades. The war did not truly end until, in 371, Thebes' crack infantry resoundingly defeated Sparta at Leuctra.  

Jennifer Roberts' rich narrative of this famous conflict is the first general history to tell the whole story, from the war's origins down to Sparta's defeat at Leuctra. In her masterful account, this long and bloody war affected every area of life in Athens, exacerbated divisions between rich and poor in Sparta, and sparked civil strife throughout the Greek world. Yet despite the biting sorrows the fighting occasioned, it remains a gripping saga of plots and counter-plots, murders and lies, missed opportunities and last-minute reprieves, and, as the war's first historian Thucydides had hoped, lessons for a less bellicose future.

©2017 Oxford University Press (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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Performance was like listening to a reporter from the BBC

“Reporting from 5th century Greece and Persia, this is Anne Flosnik with the BBC.” Flosnik has a pleasant reading voice and does a fine job narrating Jennifer Roberts’, Plague of War, but after a while her voice evolves or devolves into a reportage tone. It isn’t all that bad, it didn’t interfere with the comprehension of the text, I just found it to my ear quirky. Perhaps others won’t find this so.

Roberts is a fine writer. She does a fine job following Thucydides’ text of The Peloponnesian War. Expository writing is her strength here. Additionally, she supports her analysis with explanatory footnotes and references. This book is addressed to a general to moderate audience, one that should have read Thucydides first, but I guess might have gotten away without (what a shame for this isn’t Cliff Notes). Roberts’ Epilogue is where she ties everything together, but I will admit, after reading the book, and reading a couple of pages of it, I skimmed it, finding it a regurgitation with nothing new (or perhaps I was tired).

In comparison, I like Victor Davis Hanson’s, A War Like No Other a little better.