Jen's Reviews > The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War

The War That Killed Achilles by Caroline Alexander
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's review
Mar 31, 2012

it was ok
Read in March, 2012

Had this recommended to me for some light reading on the topic of the Iliad, which I have been nerding out about lately. I wanted to like this book so much, and I did learn a thing or two. But in the end, this book simply repeats the story of the Iliad. The author's analytical contributions are so thin that this borders on glorified Cliff Notes. Also, her writing style is awful. Her sentences are so long and windy and complex. Subject and verb are frequently separated by multiple lines of text, and her word choices are consistently flamboyant and needlessly showy. It makes for a bumbling, inelegant reading experience. If you are going to write fluff, you could at least make it a clean, graceful text.
Caroline Alexander gets two stars instead of one, simply for the conceit of her book. It doesn't work, but I like her goals in principle.

Also, what is with all these reviews filled with amazement that the Iliad is an epic about the NEGATIVE aspects of war? Does this really surprise people? This fact is established in the first pages of Homer's epic.

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message 1: by kasia (new)

kasia I wonder if you'll like Achilles in Vietnam more...

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