A History of Greece to 322 B.C. by N.G.L Hammond

This was a historian’s rather than a layman’s book, a bit more packed with details than I am used to, but it is a thorough one-volume treatment of a subject that has always fascinated me. I can’t do justice to it in 1000 characters, but one observation I would make is that the Spartans have been overrated both on their military and moral virtues. They were certainly formidable warriors, but they used their military prowess more effectively to dominate and oppress their fellow Greeks than to defend Greece against foreign invaders. Most of the credit for defending Greece against the Persians should go to Athens rather than Sparta. I would also argue that, while Athens was also guilty of imperialism and oppression, it would have been better for Greece and better for Western civilization if Athens had won the Peloponnesian War. And lastly, Alexander remains unequalled in the history of the world, unique for being a ruthless conqueror and a passionate romantic in one. That’s all.

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