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Thucydides on Politics: Back to the Present Hardcover – 20 Mar 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (20 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107039169
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107039162
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,969,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'Hawthorn acts as a careful, humane guide through Thucydides' account of the Peloponnesian War, sympathetically exploring the importance of Thucydides' historical and political thought, but equally committed to resisting the temptation to reduce this endlessly complex work to any single or simple meaning or message (whether for antiquity or for the contemporary world). Historians, students of politics, and anyone who simply wants better to understand this fascinating text will gain much from this clear-headed, thought-provoking study.' Polly Low, University of Manchester

'In a wholly individual voice, Geoffrey Hawthorn reflects on the complex of insight and suggestive ambiguity that is Thucydides' masterwork. Like Thucydides before him, Hawthorn offers by turns confident judgments and studies in contingency. For many years, Hawthorn provided a fortunate group of students at Cambridge a sense of Thucydides' distinctive subtlety and penetration about politics, a sense he here makes available to readers more generally.' Kinch Hoekstra, University of California, Berkeley

'A fascinating and thought-provoking reading of Thucydides and his ideas, thoroughly grounded in classical scholarship but viewed through a lifetime's experience of reflection on political issues. As Hawthorn himself says of Thucydides, one's understanding expands in the course of reading the work. Indispensable for classicists and political theorists alike.' Neville Morley, University of Bristol

'This magnificent book on the history of the most célèbre of all wars makes us love Thucydides' poetic passion for his subject and the 'purity' of his style. Politics is the protagonist of Geoffrey Hawthorn's narrative: Thucydides' vision of politics as a panoply of propelling forces, the reasons and accounts people give of them, their analysis, reflection, calculation and debate; and politics as a way of making things happen that is more likely than not to be agonistic and is unlikely to be truthful or simply reasonable in one straightforward way.' Nadia Urbinati, Columbia University

'Thucydides on Politics is the most original and thought-provoking book on Thucydides to appear in the past fifteen years. For boldness and clarity of argument, it cannot be too highly recommended.' Peter Thonemann, Times Literary Supplement

'… sets out to be Thucydides' Thucydides: tracing the historian's narrative, probing, judging, guessing, arguing with other scholars and with Thucydides himself, always illuminating. Like his philosophic mentor, Bernard Williams, Hawthorn displays a resolutely English intelligence, venturing no grand theories but bringing out defensible arguments from sensible consideration of details mastered. The result is that rare textual commentary that is actually readable, teaching readers how better to think about war and politics in and among communities that seek, somehow, to rule themselves. Summing up: highly recommended.' W. Morrisey, Choice

Book Description

This highly original and engaging perspective on Thucydides' understanding of practical politics explains how he presented the realities of politics and what makes his view distinctive, even from modern theories which claim an explicit connection with his work. The book offers new insights into ways of thinking about politics over time.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Laura J. Coffey on 14 April 2014
Format: Paperback
This book is wonderful - Geoffrey Hawthorn's prose is clear and illuminating, his subject fascinating, his arguments are complex and compelling. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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