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Publisher's Summary

Unquestionably, Herodotus has left mankind one of the world's greatest works of literature. But what, precisely, is it? The Persian Wars is part history, part geography, part anthropology...and completely entertaining. It possesses a charm that is legendary. However, over and above this, Herodotus has succeeded for all time in brilliantly expressing the conflict between the ideal of the free man defending his liberty within a state based on the rule of law, and that of the despot who bases his rule on brute force and whose subjects are considered slaves. In his writing we experience the impact of that great intellectual, moral, and ethical force that set the Greeks apart from the rest of the Ancient World. The Persian Wars is a magnificent epic of human triumph over the forces of tyranny, of the struggle over two diametrically opposed concepts of government...between which man must still choose today. The first four books of The Persian Wars serve as an introduction to the actual conflict itself. In this leisurely unwinding of events, people, and places, Herodotus provides the listener with a fascinating glimpse of the Ancient World. It is a marvelous journey into an exotic time filled with strange and savage tribes, beautiful cities and monuments, and - as always - born along on that inimitable charm that is unique to Herodotus.
Translation by George Rawlinson.
©2003 Audio Connoisseur
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Benedict on 03-16-04


I had heard of Herodotus since my boyhood but assumed he was irrelevant due to old age. However, since signing up for I have taken a great liking to ancient histories.

I have found the reading of this book so excellent that I thought I was listening to the author himself. The reading is so comfortable and warm that I just decided to take a trip on the river of history and let Herodotus carry me where he wished.

The most touching and almost inspiring section was Herodotus' decription of how the Athenians felt about defending their homeland from destruction, how they felt about and valued their political and personal freedoms, and how they realized their culture was unique in the world and thus vital to save.

Herodotus talks about the most personal habits of the various cultures he visits, and tells a great story. Sometimes his accuracy seems remarkable, and other times his observations and facts were charming but wrong. I found it interesting to hear how kings justified going to battle, and how they got their subjects to go along with them.

Herodotus and the ancients put great faith in oracles, and I can only wonder...

I recommend the entire book's two parts, and am looking forward to listening to reader Charlton Griffin's other readings.


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30 of 30 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Ivan on 04-06-04

He had to collect the stories first hand.

If Herodotus wants to give you his opinion on the vanity of the Egyptian Pharaoh Cheops, he first travels to Egypt to talk to the source (dozens of local priests, wise men, and even customers at the local taverns). Then he'll personally measure both the Cheops pyramid and his brother's pyramid to confirm that Cheops' was 40 feet taller than Dedefre's.

He'll even take a 10 week trip up the Nile just to collect and compare stories on what is the source of that river (which he never really determines to his own satisfaction.

Remember, this was 2400 years ago when a native escort in a canoe or a camel caravan had to substitute for a bus or plane ride. This is what I call extreme dedication (or maniacal curiosity).

What is fact and what is fiction in the stories he collects? And do historians give Herodotus adequate credit for what he has accomplished? It makes no matter. Almost every book, every thesis, every anecdote on Ancient Western Civilization can trace its seeds back to Herodotus, the original historical reference book.

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19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Andy Allison on 08-03-15

It's a long haul story

Obviously it's history and he always uses more words than necessary but for all that it's worth it. Some tales are better than others. I didn't like the narrator's accent. But that's probably just me.

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