Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on December 20, 2018
Hanson's main focus is to exchange tactical warfare discussions for those of the experiential recreations of the individual hoplite. To do this, he draws the reader into the bronze panoply of helmet, greaves, breastplate and shield and plunges us straight into the rush of snapping spears and the crushing, suffocating press of the rear columns. Each chapter in the second part offers a survey of individual aspects of battle, from who the individual soldiers were and what bound them to step-by-step assessment of the battle itself.
These meetings, Hanson tells us, were never about the glory of war, or the passage into manhood, but deliberate, mutual agreements to resolve conflicts as quickly as possible in order to minimize the loss of farmers.
Hanson explores such topics as the value of a commanding officer fighting and dying alongside his men, the driving bond by which men fought, and the principle of standing your ground, a concept in which Ancient Greek warfare was rooted in.
More than historical description and analysis, Hanson provides reflection on what the principle of ancient Greek warfare meant for the Greeks and what it could mean today if we thought seriously of conducting ourselves shamelessly an honorably in conflict as the Greeks strove to do.