The bestselling author of The Peloponnesian War examines Thucydides as the first modern historian.
Donald Kagan's magisterial history of the Peloponnesian War is recognized as a landmark of classical scholarship. Now, Kagan-one of the most respected classical historians in the world-turns his attention from one of the greatest conflicts in history to the author who so magnificently chronicled it: Thucydides, the first truly modern historian. This study offers readers a remarkable opportunity to experience one great historian engaging another across the centuries, in a work that is at once an engrossing voyage of discovery, a moving tribute, and a revelatory meditation on the practice of history and its value in human affairs.
If there is a single must-read for students of history, politics, warfare, and international relations, it is Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, recounting the struggle between the empires of Athens and Sparta in the last three decades of the fifth century BCE. Its modern influence reached a peak -- and has remained there ever since -- in the second half of the 20th century, as exemplified by Admiral Stansfield Turner's placing it at the head of the reading list for officers at the U.S. Naval War College when he became its president in 1972. It has remained on all relevant reading lists since.