Xenophons Retreat: Greece, Persia, and the End of the Golden Age By Robin Waterfield

    Waterfield does a wonderful job of providing context for Anabasis. In a work with helpful notes, maps, and references, the author has not only reconstructed the route of the 10,000 (to the extent that can be done) but also travelled it. In my paperback edition, the photographs are poorly reproduced, and the binding obscures parts of the maps, but the narrative more than makes up for these problems. In a critical reading of Anabasis, Waterfield brings the work to life and provides an excellent analysis of its meaning at the time of its writing and through history. He regards Xenophon's book as a work of philosophy and political theory as well as a work of history and an exciting tale of adventure and uses it as a way of describing the transition from the Golden Age Zeitgeist of 5th century B.C. to the more realistic and sober spirit of the 4th century. He attributes Alexander's ambition to conquer the Persian Empire directly to his reading of Xenophon. For those who have read Anabasis (or suffered through translating it in Greek classes), Xenophon's Retreat serves as a useful and enriching commentary. For those who have never read Xenophon, Waterfield's work provides an inspiration to do so. the author's translation is available as The Expedition of Cyrus. 9780674023567 An amaaaaazingly fluid read, with lots of information too. Well writen and with an excellent Bibliography and sources section. 9780674023567 I expected so much more from this book. And there really isn't anything to say about why I was disappointed because my reasons are the same as the other reviewers here. Terms that have already been covered such as 'choppy' and backwards and forwards are words I would have used myself. The book has it's good points, but on a whole you spend most of time not knowing what year you are in, or what character from history you are reading about now.
    It's higgledy piggledy and all over the place and I only made it passed halfway before I gave up and stopped trying to work out what, where and when and WHY?

    9780674023567 An odd mix of history, travel book, and lit. crit. Looking back on this, I think it was a mistake not to have first read Xenophon's book. That said, the narrative flow is interrupted any number of times by Waterfield's digressions (sometimes fascinating, sometimes boring), which makes for one choppy read. 9780674023567 This is probably best read as an adjunct or commentary to Waterfield's translation of the Anabasis, since it jumps around in Xenophon's story and material could seem confusing, irrelevant or spoilery to someone who had not already read the source. 9780674023567

    In The Expedition of Cyrus, the Western world's first eyewitness account of a military campaign, Xenophon told how, in 401 B.C., a band of unruly Greek mercenaries traveled east to fight for the Persian prince Cyrus the Younger in his attempt to wrest the throne of the mighty Persian empire from his brother.

    With this first masterpiece of Western military history forming the backbone of his book, Robin Waterfield explores what remains unsaid and assumed in Xenophon's account--much about the gruesome nature of ancient battle and logistics, the lives of Greek and Persian soldiers, and questions of historical, political, and personal context, motivation, and conflicting agendas. The result is a rounded version of the story of Cyrus's ill-fated march and the Greeks' perilous retreat--a nuanced and dramatic perspective on a critical moment in history that may tell us as much about our present-day adventures in the Middle East, site of Cyrus's debacle and the last act of the Golden Age, as it does about the great powers of antiquity in a volatile period of transition.

    Just as Xenophon brought the thrilling, appalling expedition to life, Waterfield evokes Xenophon himself as a man of his times--reflecting for all time invaluable truths about warfare, overweaning ambition, the pitfalls of power, and the march of history. Xenophons Retreat: Greece, Persia, and the End of the Golden Age

    If you haven't read Xenophon's Anabasis yourself, make that the first item of business. Get a copy in a language you understand well and read it through. Then, get this book and gain an appreciation for more of the story, background, territory, history, the context and even Waterfield's own travels over most of the route that the 10,000 took. It will make the story come alive and deepen your appreciation for it. Then re-read the Anabasis and you'll have a much richer experience. Mortimer Adler said good books are worth reading three times, and really good books are. Waterfield will help you gain more from Xenophon's March Upcountry (Anabasis). 9780674023567 This is essentially an extended footnote to Xenophon's Anabasis. I think it may well be the best footnote I've ever read, and believe me, I've read a few. I would recommend you read Anabasis first. It's great literature. There's a good translation by Dakyns on Project Gutenberg. No notes, but if you have Xenophon's Retreat you won't need them. That said, I understand Waterfield has done his own. I should imagine it's rather good. More than 20 years ago someone told me Republic was a good read, so I obtained a copy (it just happened to be Waterfield's translation) and that was the start of my love affair with ancient Greece. A couple of years ago I read someone else's translation of Republic and it was plodding and boring. None of the zing and pzzazz Plato should have. If I'd read that first I probably wouldn't have continued.

    Anyway, this is a very well structured book. Waterfield uses the same necklace approach as does Herodotus, with the story of the expedition forming the chain of the book and with sections on a great variety of subjects depending from it, steadily building up a picture of the world. He makes firm statements about what happened using inference and supposition from the meagre evidence we possess. The book thereby has narrative drive and there is an excellent bibliography for those who wish to explore the controversies of history. Waterfield's opinion though and sensible and well informed.

    The 2006 F&F paperback looks good but the spine is poorly constructed. Caveat emptor. 9780674023567 After 187 days slogging through some of the most treacherous territory on earth, harried by angry Persians, Xenophon and his Greek hoplites saw the beginnings of home. Waterfield, a recent translator of the Anabasis, provides the subtext and context (economic, technology, Persian politics) for the first masterpiece of military history. 9780674023567 No podría hacer una breve descripción de lo que me ha parecido este libro mejor que la que hay en esta página, en el resumen que se hace del mismo.
    Una sabia combinación entre erudición (muy contenida), batallitas históricas y libro de viajes. Aunque en este último aspecto, para mi gusto, debería haberse explayado mucho más.

    9780674023567 I thought this was a very helpful discussion of the Anabasis and surrounding political and social issues. When I moved on from this to a reading of Xenophon, I was much better prepared to appreciate the significance of the event, and to read a little deeper into Xenophon's narrative. 9780674023567

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