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The Persian Expedition : [Hardcover]

4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 285 pages
  • Publisher: The Folio Society; 1st. Edition : 1st. Printing edition (2009)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004O3V1PW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,649,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

The famous story of Xenophon wrapped up in the luxury of a Folio Edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Page-turner 30 Dec 2003
By Sydney
Nail-biting account of how a defeated army of Greek mercenaries, stranded deep in enemy territory, battled their way home through Persia and Kurdistan. Xenophon's account may be somewhat self-serving (and disconcertingly, he writes about himself in third person), but it's still plenty gripping. It's impossible not to cheer as the Greeks, lost and exhausted, top their umpteenth mountain crest and finally catch a glimpse of their salvation: "The sea! The sea!".
Xenophon is your basic military man, so he pretty much cuts to the chase. Rivers are to be forded, women are to be seized, and he doesn't have much time for poetical asides. Nevertheless he's a sharp observer of human character, in a practical sort of way; this is no dry historical document. The always surprisingly modern outlook of the Greeks comes through in every line, and passages of Xenophon's pep-talks could be taken out a management handbook:
"... there will be a great rise in their spirits if one can change the way they think, so that instead of having in their heads the one idea of "What is going to happen to me?", they may think "What action am I going to take?"."
The Penguin translation is clear and servicable, although the introduction is actually more difficult to follow than the story itself.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant today! 27 May 2004
I enjoyed this book both as a serious historical account of a significant event in ancient history and as a rip-roaring boys-own annual type of adventure.
Xenophons account of the fighting return of the ten thousand Greek mercenaries, from the heart of the Persian Empire back to Greece, gripped the imagination of his Greek peers and added to the growing rumblings in the Greek agoras that Persia was ripe for invasion. This culminated with Alexanders famous conquests.
In military terms, the Greeks ability to change tactics in the face of constantly differing challenges, (from formal enemy armies to highly effective guerilla tactics), together with the obvious Greek discipline and camaraderie, could stand in army manuals today.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleasurable 8 Mar 2000
By Jadepearl VINE VOICE
A very pleasurable introduction to classical literature. Easily the best work of Xenophon. I slogged through the _Hellenica_ and found this book wonderful in comparison.
It is crisp in language and easy to digest. The Warner translation comes across better than the Loeb translation.
Highly recommended
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Journal of a Greek "Adventure" 24 April 2011
With 10,000 other Greek mercenaries, Xenophon embarked on a military expedition to aid the Persian prince Cyrus against his brother, the Great King. The expedition rapidly ended in failure with the death of Cyrus in battle, and this book describes the Greek army's journey home, through Persian territory under continuous harrassment from both the Persians and local tribes.

Xenophon's writing style is succinct and down to earth - maybe what you'd expect from a military man. This translation is also in modern English, and is emminently readable. Not only is the journey itself a spectacular story, but the incidental things that you learn about the operation of a large Greek military force is fascinating (for instance, a general would expect to take 4 shares of plunder against an infantryman's 1 and an officer's 2).

Unlike many of the other books of this era, which descibe part of a longer history, the Persian Expedition (or Anabasis, as Xenophon entitled it) is self-contained and needs no additional context. Whether you are a historian or just an interested layman like me, this book makes a good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A primer for leadership. 16 Feb 2010
This world was all new to me and I was worried that it may be turgid and impenetrable. But it is really clearly written. It's hard to believe that it is around 2,500 years old: it's all so typical and accessible: the jealousy, the pride, the reasoned discussions but above all the high regard for ethics throughout. A real classic. Xenophon was writing for the people of his time for whom few explanations were needed but I would love to know what it was like for example when the army "sang the paean" and many other everyday events that are mentioned.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alexander the Great loved this book... 3 Nov 2007
A long time ago I had to read bits of this book in the original Greek, and it was tough going. So I am grateful for an excellent translation.
The book itself is a bit of an "They stayed here for three days..." 'Xenophon's intention now was to...' "Next Agasias stepped forward and spoke as follows..." sequence, all step by step, and some of the steps rather tedious. Especially when the various commanders endlessly discuss things, and this is faithfully reported down to the last subclause. But what a story it is! The 401 BC expedition of Cyrus against his older brother led to 10,000 Greek mercenaries marooned in what is now lower Iraq; they slowly walked and fought their way through unfamiliar territory with many pitfalls through much of Iraq and eastern Turkey to Trabzond ('Thalassa! Thalassa!') and then west to Greece.
Because of the democratic nature of the mercenaries (at least amongst themselves) they chose their own leaders; but in periods of least danger, there usually erupted bickering among those leaders, or they had to be newly elected. Xenophon was one of them, and bickered with the best of them; but also writes about the daily life of the ordinary soldier. Full of dramatic ups and downs, with plenty of boring bits but many more exciting ones, this is still an amazing book. To call it a classic sounds pretty stupid, as it is twenty-four centuries old - but it is still worth reading, whether you are interested in history, war, geography or the interaction of ancient Greeks, so similar to ours today.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very good
Published 1 month ago by MARY COE
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic
Not of enormous historical relevance on its own, the Persian Expedition or Anabasis is nevertheless one of the most interesting, and the most readable, pieces of ancient Greek... Read more
Published 5 months ago by reader 451
5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to better understand Alexander the Great
By reading The Persian Expedition by Xenophon I felt sure to come closer to Alexander the Great. Xenophon was one of his favorite authors and since this book included Prince... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Argyraspid
3.0 out of 5 stars A Ripping Yarn
Rather spoilt my sloppy proofreading and unbelievably annoying spaces between punctuation marks . Like this . Read more
Published 19 months ago by JamesL
4.0 out of 5 stars An Odyssee
Well know book that was consulted later by many strategists and historians. Despite being pro-greek, the book describes the various countries, tribes, cities encountered during the... Read more
Published on 11 Jun 2012 by Eric le rouge
5.0 out of 5 stars Mercenary History No 1
Xenophon has had a bad press, (as the antecedent of Thucydides) in his 'Hellenica', he has been held up in contrast as a biased raconteur by the armchair historians of the... Read more
Published on 21 Jan 2012 by Rhoops
3.0 out of 5 stars Good
Good read but remember this is a book written in ancient times so has little of the standard conventions that make modern books enjoyable to read.
Published on 31 Oct 2009 by M. S. Landon
5.0 out of 5 stars A great epic, who needs SciFi and Fantasy?
I keep encouraging younger readers to embrace the classics and the Anabasis or Persian expedition is the first recommendation, that I make. Read more
Published on 13 Jun 2006 by buddingpasha
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating True Ancient Events
Occasionally the language can be a bit turgid and it is'nt edge of the seat stuff all the way through. Read more
Published on 6 Sep 2005 by Mr. R. M. Crawley
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