" A War Like No Other" Victor Davis Hanson - Booktalk


Video from Bjorn Ottosson


"Author and military historian Victor Davis Hanson talks about his book, A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War, published by Random House. The presentation was given on September 7, 2005 at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, where Mr. Hanson was serving as a distinguished fellow in history. After the presentation was shown, Mr. Hanson was interviewed by remote video from Palo Alto, Calif. He responded to questions and comments from viewers." from video introduction.


"WHY should a distinguished classical scholar like Victor Davis Hanson provide us with yet another book about the Peloponnesian War? He is in no doubt: he is writing a tract for the times. "Perhaps never," he insists, "has the Peloponnesian War been more relevant to Americans than to us of the present age."

This Greek civil war, between Athens and her allies and Sparta and her allies, lasted 27 years, from 431 to 404 B.C., and ended with the capitulation of Athens and its occupation by Sparta. Its interest for Hanson is in comparing Athens to the United States. At the outset of the war, Athens was the richest city in the world and, within Greece, the sole superpower, with an omnipotent navy. Athens was also a democracy, anxious to export her political system and way of life throughout the Greek world, if necessary by force. The war was fought because Sparta, a military oligarchy, feared Athenian imperialism and cultural dominance, and persuaded other Greek cities to join with it in an attempt to cut Athens down to size. Hanson sees the United States as sharing Athenian hubris and inviting nemesis by trying to export democracy to countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. The fact that Hanson himself supports American policy gives his book an ironic twist..." from the article: 'A War Like No Other': Where Hubris Came From


A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War (link)


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