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What 300 Meatheads Did For Us
Paul Cartledge on Thermopylae
© 2012 James LaFond
The Battle That Changed the World
Paul Cartledge, Overlook, NY, 2006, 313 pages
A book review from August 2012
This is a scholarly book written by an educator that is a good writer. Mind you, this piece was written to educate, not entertain. It was also written in the wake of Stephan Pressfield’s hugely popular novel about this singular battle, and on the eve of the release of the movie 300. So, this is not the narrative of the battle. The professor, who is the recognized expert on The Spartans, was wise enough not to compete with novelists and screen writers.
This is, instead, a background piece, for those of us who enjoyed the fictionalized versions of the battle and want some more insight. There is barely a page on the actual fight. The 10 chapters are devoted to setting the stage and discussing the legacy of the famous last stand of Leonidas and his 300 suicidal bodyguards.
The book ends with a nice survey on everything that has been written about the battle, and what it has meant to the Western World ever since.
I read the author’s book The Spartans and liked it and am looking foreword to sampling his book on Alexander.
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