The War That Killed Achilles

The War That Killed Achilles The Iliad is still the greatest poem about war that our culture has ever produced For a hundred generations poets and thinkers in the West have pored over retold and argued about the events describe
  • Title: The War That Killed Achilles
  • Author: Caroline Alexander
  • ISBN: 9780571234301
  • Page: 496
  • Format: Paperback
  • The War That Killed Achilles
    The Iliad is still the greatest poem about war that our culture has ever produced For a hundred generations, poets and thinkers in the West have pored over, retold and argued about the events described in this martial epic, even when direct knowledge of it was lost Various empires have admired it as a book that in telling the story of the siege of Troy also extols the waThe Iliad is still the greatest poem about war that our culture has ever produced For a hundred generations, poets and thinkers in the West have pored over, retold and argued about the events described in this martial epic, even when direct knowledge of it was lost Various empires have admired it as a book that in telling the story of the siege of Troy also extols the warrior ethic, and teaches the young how to die well.Yet the figure at the heart of the epic, the consummate warrior Achilles, is a brooding, controversial hero He is a fierce critic of those who have started this war and allowed it to drag on, consuming soldiers and civilians alike Disconcertingly, The Iliad portrays war as a catastrophe that destroys cities, orphans children and wrecks whole societies.Caroline Alexander s extraordinary book is not about any of the traditional concerns that have occupied classicists for centuries It is simpler and radical than that In her words, This book is about what the Iliad is about this book is about what the Iliad says of war.
    The War That Killed Achilles By Caroline Alexander,
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    About " Caroline Alexander "

  • Caroline Alexander

    Caroline Alexander has written for The New Yorker, Granta, Cond Nast Traveler, Smithsonian, Outside, and National Geographic She is the curator of Endurance Shackleton s Legendary Expedition, an exhibition that opened at the American Museum of Natural History in March 1999 She lives on a farm in New Hampshire.


  • What is so startling about the Iliad is its immediacy, its emotion Real, recognizable feelings and behaviors are so evident that the fact they happened in a time before Christ just falls away We find ourselves rooting for these men and women even as we see the plotting of the gods and they obvious way they place a thumb on the scales of justice.Once one has gone even a little way into the Iliad, one s curiosity blooms how can this story have survived what is its history are there stories how di [...]

  • Everything is beautiful because we are doomed You will never be lovelier than you are now We will never be here again Homer, The IliadI KNOW that I shall meet my fate Somewhere among the clouds above Those that I fight I do not hate Those that I guard I do not love W.B Yeats, An Irish Airman foresees his DeathThis was a nice look into the details of war using Homer s epic as a glass to explore It is one of those books that is difficult to shelve It isn t a history of the Trojan War It isn t exa [...]

  • There is a section in Mark Edmundson s Why Read where the author discusses the difference between literature those works of prose and verse that are read and discussed for generations and what isn t those works that may be well written and engaging but don t have the power or impact that survives the ages Two of the authors he chooses to illustrate this are Homer and Stephen King The distinction, Edmundson writes, is that Homer and literature in general challenges the reader He makes the epic ge [...]

  • Caroline Alexander s The War That Killed Achilles The True Story of Homer s Iliad and the Trojan War is than an exploration of Homer s Iliad Alexander s interpretation of characters and events in the epic arrive at conclusions about the experience of war in general conclusions that are applicable to all wars at all times and in all places Alexander encourages the drawing of parallels She cites examples from 20th Century wars that echo sentiments expressed in the Iliad Achilles confrontation wit [...]

  • This was work It was informative and left me with lots of stuff I could follow up on if I wanted to, but I had to force my way through The best chapter was Alexander s translation of the death of Hektor which just goes to show I probably don t need to read about Homer just now, and instead just read Homer I m starting on Friday.

  • So I have a somewhat guilty secret I sorta, kinda, like the movie Troy, at least up to the part where Hector gets killed I know it has its problems, least of all Orlando Bloom as Paris really, him , but I still enjoy it.I ve always had a thing for the Trojan War The first grown up program I was allowed to watch was Michael Wood s In Search of the Trojan War I couldn t stay up to watch it, but I was allowed to watch the next day god bless the VCR, may it rest in peace I always tended to root for [...]

  • This is an excellent book to read in conjunction with your latest rereading of Homer s Iliad, which is just what I have recently done Caroline Alexander manages to emphasize the relevance of the Iliad for today by exploring references to other literature and deepening the meanings found within the Iliad by the reader While Homer s epic stands alone for the serious reader, the addition of these resources widens the breadth of possibilities of understanding for the reader and, in my case, assisted [...]

  • Caroline Alexander says in her Preface to The War That Killed Achilles that this book is about what the Iliad is about this book is about what the Iliad says of war I loved this book It is extraordinarily well written, and to the point at 225 pages in length plus another nearly 50 pages of end notes While scholarly, it reads very well Alexander takes us through the Trojan War s cast of characters in chapters that cover topics like Chain of Command , the Terms of Engagement , In God We Trust , Ma [...]

  • The subtitle s claim as the true story of Homer s Iliad and the Trojan War is misleading There isn t much history or fact here.Alexander writes that she intended to focus on the Iliad s depiction of war Her chapters carry titles of military reference Terms of Engagement , Body Count leading me to think she tried to link that raid on the Anatolian coast to modern warfare, as if it could be found similar to Russia s incursion into Ukraine, to cite an example It s just one of the awkwardnesses of t [...]

  • It s no secret that the Iliad is important to me in what was once referred to as the most pretentious tramp stamp ever, I ve got the first three words menin aeide thea, the beginnings of the invocation of the Muse tattooed at the base of my spine It s a fitting place for these founding words of Western poetry, at the root of the spinal cord, the walled in fortress of the nervous system and, to switch traditions, the location of the kundalini chakra In many ways, the Iliad is Western culture, vio [...]

  • Excellent in depth interpretation with references to recent events and referrals to recent history I had not thought of the rationale why the other Argives kings would firmly back Agammemnon for ten years, but C Alexander presents a Greek rationale that all were at one time suitors of Helen, and I can agree with that conjecture Hektor is all the my favorite mortal in this epic as Alexander paints his portrait of a man with a family.

  • I really enjoyed Alexander s Bounty book and picking up her analysis of the Illiad was a no brainer I give high marks to her treatment and interpretation of the Illiad as well The blurbs on the book jacket from other authors and generals were a bit of an exaggeration, but the background and interpretation of this most classic tale was well worth the investment of time and money And unlike Hollywood, she didnt change the endings.

  • Having only vaguely encountered The Iliad before, I enjoyed listening to this book very much A good mix of bits of archeology, lots of textual analysis, and a smattering of commentary on current events Probably there are many better scholarly works on the subject, but this was good enough for the layperson and also engaging Michael Page does a pretty good job as the reader.

  • Interesting the difference a couple of years makes.I tried reading this in 2012 and couldn t get into it Read it again over the last weekend and found it quite absorbing.The books is basically a commentary on The Iliad, with a number of odd little historical facts to whet the appetite.Specialist reading though You do need to be familiar with the source work to get anything out of it.

  • Have we reached such a cultural nadir that it is groundbreaking to hammer with excessive quotations from an old translation and recaps for the attention deficit that the Iliad is about a war, and wars are timeless and sad Really

  • I took a class in 10th grade that did nothing for a term but read the Iliad, and while I have a few distinct memories of insights and observations from the highly enthusiastic teacher, after reading this book it is apparent how little I appreciated of the essential dramatic structure of the epic This retelling of the tale reminded me of an abridged version of Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which excised long sections not germane to the overall flow The War of Achilles also mention [...]

  • This is the best piece of classical scholarship I ve read in ages It is extremely readable, and Caroline Alexander s analysis is both provocative and deeply resonant Reading Alexander s deconstruction of The Illiad reminds me why I first loved that story as a child All the critiques and analyses I ve read of Homer s epic over the years seemed to me to be directed at an entirely different story than that with which I was familiar THE WAR THAT KILLED ACHILLES is the first book I ve read that is re [...]

  • I really liked this it was slightly different than I expected, though The subtitle, The True Story of Homer s Iliad and the Trojan War, made me think that this would be a factual, historical breakdown of what happened and what didn t, but it was actually a far literary analysis of The Iliad, and how, even as one of the world s emblematic epic poems, it is completely different from the epics of its day It brought a lot of things to my attention that I hadn t thought about, and I really enjoyed t [...]

  • A marvellous book that turns the received wisdom about The Illiad on its head, providing an astute and fascinating look into and about the epic, the history, and the characters as they have come down the ages to us Additional bonus the author used the Richmond Latti translation, which I love If you like the Classics or even have any vague interest in The Illiad, the Trojan War, or literary analysis, read this book

  • Nice, in depth reading of The Iliad However, the author as biased towards Achilles as I am to Hector So in my opinion she is a bit too invested in portraying Achilles in the best possible light and completely glosses over Achilles horrific treatment of Hector s corpse.

  • I suspect I would have gotten much out of The War That Killed Achilles if I d read Homer s The Iliad As it is, I ve seen the movie Troy, whose main contribution to the world may have been the joke it inspired about Achilles and Patroklus in conclusion cousins , know a couple of quotes, and have vague memories of studying the Trojan War as a historical event at school The War That Killed Achilles, however, is focused on The Iliad itself, about what messages Homer was trying to communicate and w [...]

  • I really enjoyed this book There was a lot to think about It definitely helped me understand The Iliad better The only thing I wasn t sure about was the extended extensive use of quotations from the text Maybe because I m actively reading The Iliad right now it felt like too much I just found myself wanting analysis, because there was really good analysis happening, and wanting less quotations from the text, because I am already reading that elsewhere The entire chapter of Iliad text also felt [...]

  • I picked up this book for perspective on The Illiad and The Odyssey after re reading part of The Odyssey It was unsatisfying in shedding light on the history and writing Indeed, a travel book titled No Man s Lands was helpful.Though Alexander wrote this book from a number of lectures, it is oddly unfocused Indeed, the focus of The Illiad and this book are on Achilles and of prophecies that the hero could remain comfortably at home or go to war and his death but have his life live on in legend [...]

  • This is a great read for the non academic with an interest in the tradition surrounding the Trojan War and the Iliad, but most particularly, for anyone who has had trouble finding sympathy or understanding when it comes to the character and story of Achilles.Until I read this book, I had never put the pieces together to see Achilles as anything than the man child sulking in his tent, but Ms Alexander does an incredible job of deconstructing his mythology and allowing us a glimpse of a gloriousl [...]

  • I have to admit I was pretty disappointed with this book I was expecting analysis of war itself through the lens of the Illiad rather than a recounting of the Illiad with just a few paragraphs here and there about how it relates to modern warfare This book had potential, especially given our current environment, to show the real costs of war as they are illustrated through Homer s epic, but it spent almost all its time recounting the story of Achilles than actually doing analysis Having just fi [...]

  • This book didn t have a storyline or a plot Instead there were passages of the Illiad and the author explained what parts of the story meant It was interesting to hear alot of the background of the story My reaction to the book was one of suprise The book looked alot interesting in the beginning than it did at the end Near the end of the book there were a bunch of names and it really confused me For example Achillles is also called Peleus son These names were interchangeable so I had to refer [...]

  • I picked this one up, because I used to study Latin and loved the Iliad I liked that this book reflected on the Iliad and the Trojan War in light of modern wars Alexander had some interesting observations about the enduring themes such as what it means to be courageous, the impact of war on the character of both the soldier and those left at home, and the value of glory versus life may have.One paragraph stuck with me in particular p225 But the Iliad also never betrays its subject, which is war [...]

  • Based on the interview I heard with the author, I expected this book to make connections between war in general and the Iliad in particular There were some, but I expected that to be the meat of the book.Also, I ve not read the Iliad and only read the Odyssey in high school a terrible translation that was not even in poetry form.With those caveats, this book was very interesting Alexander bring the book to a nice climax and does a good job contrasting the immortal gods with the very mortal huma [...]

  • This is an excellent overall guide or interpretation of the Iliad For that, 3 4 stars.This is a thin exposition on The War That Killed Achilles, and all that it means.It s a fascinating idea to posit this poem as an anti war epic, Achilles as a heroic deserter, and the generalsimilarities between war experiences recorded millenia ago and modern war experiences.But most of the book is just a very helpful overall guide to the poem.Well worth reading for that, but I was just disappointed that Ms Al [...]

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