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The Spartans: An Epic History (HB) - Hardcover

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9780752265230: The Spartans: An Epic History (HB)
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This title attempts to deconstruct the image of the Spartans as mythical and unknown, to present them as they say themselves - as warrior heroes, living exemplars of the values of self-sacrifice, communal endeavour and achievement against all odds. Paul Cartledge examines the evolution of their ancient society and culture, one that was significantly masculine but that allowed women an unusually dominant and powerful role. The history of this people, whose ideas have attracted many societies over the centuries, is defined in this book.

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Review:
Send the SAS to pick flowers and the Marines to knit mittens, because the Spartans could have 'em for breakfast. In The Spartans: An Epic History, the book of the Channel 4 series, Paul Cartledge paints a vivid picture of one of the most extreme civilisations ever known--one whose ethos married the highest levels of societal and philosophical advancement with the most repressive and warlike of regimes. These ancient Greeks lived, breathed and slept "hard". They also happened to influence much of subsequent Western civilisation.

The perfect warriors, they lived to fight, and when they weren't fighting, they were training to fight. Their male children were brutally raised, and weak or deformed infants were mercilessly cast from cliff tops. Yet they were unusually egalitarian in their treatment of women, and embraced an intensely partisan social ethic. They enslaved much of the rest of Greece, yet provided the spark for Athenian Democracy. It is this apparently contradictory duality that continues to fascinate and that has since engendered concepts as diverse as Hitler's system of negative eugenics and Thomas More's notion of Utopia.

The Spartans, though accessible, is an accomplished academic work--you'd hardly expect anything else, Cartledge having already written 20 books on the subject. But without the window dressing of the TV show's stunning Grecian locations and its thinking-man's eye-candy presenter Bettany Hughes, this can seem a little dry--anyone expecting the latest glossy picture-filled Time Team-style coffee-table book is likely to be disappointed. If you're partial to a bit of accessible erudition, however, then it would be foolish to look this gift horse in the mouth. --Paul Eisinger

Review:
" Cartledge displays a marvelous ability to make the readers care about the Laconic warriors . . . and the society that shaped them." -- "USA Today
"" Cartledge brings [the Spartans] to life again with verve [and] style." -- "Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
"
" The history and atmosphere of Sparta are well conveyed by Cartledge." -- "The New York Review of Books
"" A fine overview of the rise and fall of a singular culture, spiced with anecdotes, quotations, brisk summary, and real insight." -- "Seattle Times
"" The Spartans presented in this book could change the popular image of ancient history, making it more compelling and accessible." -- "The" "Times Literary Supplement
"

Cartledge displays a marvelous ability to make the readers care about the Laconic warriors . . . and the society that shaped them. USA Today
Cartledge brings [the Spartans] to life again with verve [and] style. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The history and atmosphere of Sparta are well conveyed by Cartledge. The New York Review of Books
A fine overview of the rise and fall of a singular culture, spiced with anecdotes, quotations, brisk summary, and real insight. Seattle Times
The Spartans presented in this book could change the popular image of ancient history, making it more compelling and accessible. The Times Literary Supplement
"

"Cartledge displays a marvelous ability to make the readers care about the Laconic warriors . . . and the society that shaped them." --USA Today

"Cartledge brings [the Spartans] to life again with verve [and] style." --Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"The history and atmosphere of Sparta are well conveyed by Cartledge." --The New York Review of Books

"A fine overview of the rise and fall of a singular culture, spiced with anecdotes, quotations, brisk summary, and real insight." --Seattle Times

"The Spartans presented in this book could change the popular image of ancient history, making it more compelling and accessible." --The Times Literary Supplement

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  • PublisherChannel 4 Books
  • Publication date2002
  • ISBN 10 0752265237
  • ISBN 13 9780752265230
  • BindingHardcover
  • Number of pages288
  • Rating
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    ( 2,813 ratings by Goodreads )
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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781400078851: The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece

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ISBN 10:  ISBN 13:  9781400078851
Publisher: Vintage, 2004
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9781447237204: The Spartans: An Epic History

Pan, 2013
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9781585674022: The Spartans: The World of the Warrior-Heroes of Ancient Greece, from Utopia to Crisis and Collapse

Overlo..., 2003
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9780330413251: The Spartans: An Epic History

Pan Books, 2003
Softcover

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