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The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War
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The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War (The Peloponnesian War #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  273 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
The first volume of Donald Kagan's acclaimed four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War offers a new evaluation of the origins and causes of the conflict, based on evidence produced by modern scholarship and on a careful reconsideration of the ancient texts. He focuses his study on the question: Was the war inevitable, or could it have been avoided?

Kagan takes issue with
Paperback, 440 pages
Published January 16th 1989 by Cornell University Press (first published 1969)
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Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I friggin loved this quartet of books. Took about a year to read all four. I actually was quite annoyed that two of his sources were written ONLY in German -- I mean literally, there are NO translations. I contacted Prof. Kagan and he told me "It took me 30 years to write the books. I'm sure you can learn German in less time." Hilarious.

James Murphy
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm revisiting Donald Kagan's 4-volume history of the Peloponnesian War this year. In my experience this is the best modern history of the war and one which I consider wise in its understanding and analysis of the various currents driving the war and of ways in which study of it can be used today. His insight into the past and how it always abuts the present is full-bodied. A primary source for the war is, of course, Thucydides, who stated one of his reasons for writing his history was to show h ...more
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the first volume of Kagan's four volume history of the Peloponnesian War. In this series, Kagan paints the most complete picture possible of the long war by starting with Thucydides and Herodotus and others and then expanding on the basis of any other available sources. This fills in lots of detail for those who want more context to the story as told by Thucydides. This is really helpful for this long war, which was a veritable world war in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean for nearly ...more
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
hard to follow at some times, but a very concise account of the reason of the war, looking at not only the War of 431, but also the first Peloponnesian war
Matt G Kangas
Fascinating, but challenging if you have little knowledge of ancient Greece
Ivan Soto
Oct 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great scholarship!
Bryan Batson
Good read. Excellent assessment of Thucydides' argument about the inevitability of the Peloponnesian War. Great assessment of the manner in which states wield power.
Jul 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not always the lightest of reads but a thorough exploration of the Peloponnesian War that wreaked havoc on the Greek world of the time.

Κάλι Γαβριά
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's not very detailed as I expected and the book lacks in many significant points!
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A good read to uncover the seeds of conflict that can be, and usually, are lost to contemporaries and historians alike
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Professor Kagan, who received his PhD from Ohio State University in 1958, has written The Great Dialogue: A History of Greek Political Thought from Homer to Polybius (1965 and 1986); The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War (1969); The Archidamian War (1974); The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition (1981); The Fall of the Athenian Empire (1987); Pericles and the Birth of the Athenian Empire ( ...more
More about Donald Kagan...

Other Books in the Series

The Peloponnesian War (5 books)
  • The Archidamian War
  • The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition (Peloponnesian War)
  • The Fall of the Athenian Empire
  • The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War/The Archidamian War/The Peace of Nicias & the Sicilian Expedition/The Fall of the Athenian Empire