Top positive review
It’s as if he was there.
Reviewed in the United States on May 23, 2019
Victor Davis Hanson is one of the most gifted classicists of our time. He is also one of the greatest thinkers of this generation. His descriptions of ancients times as well as his analysis of modern times demonstrates an understanding and brilliance shown by few.
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