The War That Killed Achilles

The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War

By Caroline Alexander
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670021123, 320pp.)

Publication Date: October 15, 2009

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Compact Disc, Compact Disc, MP3 CD, MP3 CD

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the December 2009 Indie Notables
“In a new and refreshing examination of The Iliad, Caroline Alexander gives fascinating perspective on the Western world’s first epic poem. Delving into questions of duty, honor, obligation, and moral authority, Alexander gives us an Achilles more heroic than his legend and asks us to seriously question what lessons were intended to me imparted in the original narration.”
-- Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI


Description

A groundbreaking reading of the Iliad that restores Homer's vision of the tragedy of war, by the bestselling author of The Bounty

Few warriors, in life or literature, have challenged their commanding officer and the rationale of the war they fought as fiercely as did Homer's hero Achilles. Today, the Iliad is celebrated as one of the greatest works in literature, the epic of all epics; many have forgotten that the subject of this ancient poem was war-not merely the poetical romance of the war at Troy, but war, in all its enduring devastation.

Using the legend of the Trojan war, the Iliad addresses the central questions defining the war experience of every age: Is a warrior ever justified in standing up against his commander? Must he sacrifice his life for someone else's cause? Giving his life for his country, does a man betray his family? How is a catastrophic war ever allowed to start-and why, if all parties wish it over, can it not be ended?

As she did with The Endurance and The Bounty, Caroline Alexander lets us see why a familiar story has had such an impact on us for centuries, revealing what Homer really meant. Written with the authority of a scholar and the vigor of a bestselling narrative historian, The War That Killed Achilles is a superb and utterly timely presentation of one of the timeless stories of our civilization.




NPR
Saturday, Oct 24, 2009

Homer's epic poem "The Iliad" dates back thousands of years, but author Caroline Alexander says its themes, especially about war, ring true today. Guy Raz talks to Alexander about her new book, The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War. More at NPR.org

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Praise For The War That Killed Achilles

"In her spectacular and constantly surprising new book, Caroline Alexander has taken the 'original' war book and turned it upside down, making it, as all wars are, an excruciating story of loss...The War that Killed Achilles is a triumph."
-Ken Burns

"This riveting tale of ancient wars, legendary warriors, and mythical gods is at once a great adventure story and a cautionary tale of the enduring perils of hubris and ego. Achilles' life and death are instructive lessons for all of us today."
-Tom Brokaw

"Spirited and provocative...a nobly bold even rousing venture...it would be hard to find a faster, livelier, more compact introduction to such a great range of recent Iliadic explorations."
-Steve Coates, The New York Times

"Penetrating...reflecting her own skills [Alexander] provides her own translation of an entire chapter...a real bonus for the reader, comparing favorably with Lattimore and Fagles."
-Boston Globe

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