The war that killed Achilles : the true story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War / Caroline Alexander.

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: Many have forgotten that the subject of the "Illiad" was war--not merely the poetical romance of the war at Troy, but war, in all its enduring devastation. This groundbreaking reading of Homer's epic poem restores the poet's vision of the tragedy of war,addressing many of the central questions that define the war experience of every age.
    • Notes:
      Includes bibliographical references (p. 229-277) and index.
    • ISBN:
      9780670021123 : HRD
      0670021121 : HRD
    • LCCN:
    • OCLC:
    • Accession Number:


Booklist Reviews 2009 October #1

"The epic that launched a thousand term papers, The Iliad receives a variegated critique from Alexander, the popular author who remarks here that Homer led her to become a classicist. Rereading her inspiration, Alexander incorporates her interpretations of The Iliad's main characters into her summary of the plot, which culminates in the cathartic contest between Achilles and Hektor. Alexander's purpose in doing so is to crystallize The Iliad's main idea—war's devastation—which she indicates gets lost in the epic's dazzling literary elements, such as epithets ("fleet-footed Achilles"), interventions of the gods, battle scenes, and so forth. To restore centrality to the main idea, Alexander distinguishes passages that emphasize the disgust of major characters such as Achilles and Hektor with the ostensible objective of the Trojan War, the possession of Helen—yet they fight on. Alexander's perceptiveness about attitudes and motives primes us for the death of Hektor, a scene whose power of desolation she releases in a verbatim reprinting from the Richmond Lattimore translation. That curriculum classic will surely be sought by readers of Alexander's informed and discerning commentary." Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2009 June #2

The author of best sellers like The Endurance has the credentials to clarify the Iliad's true understanding of war: she founded the University of Malawi's classics department. Any surprises here? Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

LJ Reviews 2009 November #1

Alexander, a professional writer who has been published in Granta, The New Yorker, and National Geographic, holds a Ph.D. in classics from Columbia University. Her new book explores her deep fascination with Homer's Iliad. Essentially, she offers an extended discussion of the plot, elaborating and contextualizing it by reference to extant fragments from other epics and other ancient texts and archaeological and historical evidence. She also relates the resonances of The Iliad in the modern world, from Muhammad Ali's refusal to serve in the Vietnam War to the account of an American war widow responding to the death of her husband in Iraq. VERDICT Alexander's book is vigorous and deeply learned yet unpedantic. Highly recommended to general readers interested in a full appreciation of the power and the enduring relevance of The Iliad.—T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah, GA

[Page 66]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

LJ Reviews Newsletter

Alexander, Caroline. The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War. Penguin. 2010. 320p. ISBN 9780670021123. $26.95; pap. ISBN 9780143118268. $16. LIT/HIST (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.