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Top 10 Peloponnesian War Books


The Peloponnesian War is almost synonymous with Thucydides, the great Greek historian who described the war. If you're reading Thucydides on your own, you may appreciate the background information and interpretation of events supplied by these writers.

1. The Peloponnesian War

Donald Kagan has re-written his scholarly history of the Peloponnesian War into a one volume history for the general public.
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2. The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, by Donald Kagan

Kagan looks into the leaders of the two sides to explain the reason for the war between Sparta nad her allies and Athens and hers.
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3. Money and the Corrosion of Power in Thucydides

In Money and the Corrosion of Power in Thucydides: The Sicilian Expedition and Its Aftermath, Lisa Kallet criticizes the Athenian leaders who, having become corrupted with money, failed to use their wealth for military power.
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4. Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War, by George Cawkwell

Cawkwell challenges the infallibility of Thucydides' account of the Peloponnesian War, espcially in terms of his depiction of Alcibiades and Demosthenes, and his relationship with Pericles.
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5. The Archidamian War, by Donald Kagan

This is the second volume of Kagan's tetralogy on the Peloponnesian War, In it, he discusses Pericles' role in the first ten years of the Peloponnesian War.
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6. Fall of Athenian Empire, by Donald Kagan

The concluding volume of Kagan's history of the Peloponnesian War, in which he goes beyond the point at which Thucydides ends.
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7. The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition, by Donald Kagan

Under Alcibiades, the Athenians planned to try to cut the Spartans off from their food supply in Sicily. But Alcibiades was recalled by the Athenians because of crime he was thought to have committed. He escaped and fled to Sparta where he revealed the Athenian plan.
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8. The Humanity of Thucydides

Clifford Orwin focuses on Thucydides' use of speeches in his history of the Peloponnesian War, his concerns with injustice, the contrast between Athens and Sparta, political piety, foreign and domestic politics, and statesmanship.
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9. Thucydides and Internal War, by Jonathan J. Price

Price believes Thucydides considered the Peloponnesian War a destructive internal war.
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10. War and Democracy: A Comparative Study

In "War and Democracy: A Comparative Study of the Korean War and the Peloponnesian War," edited by David R. McCann and Barry S. Strauss, the authors look at concepts of democracy and show geographic, ideological, rhetorical, moral, and political similarities between the two wars.
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