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The End of Sparta: A Novel Paperback – May 21, 2013
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In this sweeping and deeply imagined historical novel, acclaimed classicist Victor Davis Hanson re-creates the battles of one of the greatest generals of ancient Greece, Epaminondas. At the Battle of Leuktra, his Thebans crushed the fearsome army of Sparta that had enslaved its neighbors for two centuries.
We follow these epic historical events through the eyes of Mêlon, a farmer who has left his fields to serve with Epaminondas-swept up, against his better judgment, in the fever to spread democracy even as he yearns to return to his pastoral hillside.
With a scholar's depth of knowledge and a novelist's vivid imagination, Hanson re-creates the ancient world down to its intimate details-from the weight of a spear in a soldier's hand to the peculiar camaraderie of a slave and master who go into battle side by side. The End of Sparta is a stirring drama and a rich, absorbing reading experience.
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About the Author
- Publisher : Bloomsbury Press; Reprint edition (May 21, 2013)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1608193543
- ISBN-13 : 978-1608193547
- Item Weight : 1.47 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.41 x 1.21 x 9.19 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #977,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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In The End of Sparta, he describes the political events that led to the Sparta’s loss of hegemony in Greece. For centuries, the Spartan war-machine ruled over most of Greece. They were professional soldiers, trained from the age of seven whose needs (planting, harvesting, maintaining a city) were supplied by slaves and Spartan women, Their adversaries were mostly farmers, shopkeepers, blacksmiths and other simple folk who laid down their tools and picked up the implements of war, whatever they owned, to fight this professional army.
Sparta easily won virtually all battles. The Battle of Leuktra, the highlight of this book, was the first time the Spartan phalanx was defeated. Using unusual tactics and motivated by a cause to free the slaves, Epaminondas of Thebes routed the Spartans and pursued them to their home in Laconia.
This book is difficult to read at times and slows down after the Battle of Leuktra. However, there is a wealth of information and explanation on the downfall of one of the greatest city-states in antiquity if the reader sticks with it.
John E Nevola - Author of The Last Jump and The Final Flag
U.S. Army Veteran – SP/5
Military Writer's Society of America
Author: The Coming Collapse of the American republic
That being said, it is not an easy book to tackle. Even though I read much of it on vacation in Florida, I would not label it a "beach read" at all. It requires a taste for intelligent writing, an ability to appreciate a voice that determinedly echoes that of Homer, and an enjoyment of epic stories. Not for the usual reader in 21st century USA. I cannot recall any other novel in which I have underlined passages that I wanted to remember.
In a way, I do wish the book had been written at a level to attract more readers. Dr. Hanson has cogent observations on military and political behavior that apply as much today as twenty-four centuries ago, and the audience for a book like this will be limited. Still, I can't imagine the author compromising on quality.
One very small correction. On page 416, Ainias is supposedly "pleating" his hair. It should have been "plaiting". I think this error may just be male ignorance.