Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Browsing Area Book of the Week, May 13, 2013.

The First Clash: the miraculous Greek victory at Marathon—and its impact on Western civilization by Jim Lacey.  Library Call Number: DF225.4.L332011.
          Author Lacey, a veteran and military historian, takes a fresh look at the battle of Marathon, when a small army of about 9,000 Athenians, aided by 1,000 Plateans, took on the vanguard of the Persian army of Darius I.  Outnumbered about 2 to 1, the battle developed in such an unexpected way that it left possibly half the Persians dead at the loss of less than 200 Greeks.      
         The book jacket states:
…Lacey shows how the heavily armed Persian army was shocked, demoralized, and ultimately defeated by the relentless assault of the Athenian phalanx, which battered the Persian line in a series of brutal attacks. He reveals the fascinating aftermath of Marathon, how its fighters became the equivalent of our “Greatest Generation,” and challenges the view of many historians that Marathon ultimately proved the Greek “Western way of war” to be the superior strategy for fighting—and winning—battles to the present day.
          Immediate, visceral, and full of new analyses that defy decades of conventional wisdom, The First Clash is a superb interpretation of a conflict that indeed made the world safe for Aristotle, Plato, and our own modern democracy. But it was also a battle whose legacy and lessons have often been misunderstood—perhaps, now more than ever, at our own peril.

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