Editor's Pick: A War Like No Other

A War Like No Other: A Review
How the Athenians and the Spartans fought the Peloponnesian War
featuring David Kerner

A War Like No Other - A great book about a lowpoint in human history, recounting glory and stupidity, distaster and destruction.

        One of the most interesting books I have read in a long time, Victor Hansen's A War Like No Other painstakingly delves into the brutal Peloponnesian Wars, outlining their events and linking much of them to current events. Hansen compares the famous wars between Sparta and Athens, likening them to global superpowers in some cases, and two parts of a divided nation in others. This book points out some of the more important lessons to take away from this two and a half thousand year old conflict and truly is a riveting tale.
       A War Like No Other is quite a memorable read, recounting the horrors of war in vivid detail, as if they happened yesterday, not 2400 years ago. It delves deep into the conflict itself rather than recounting the facts and events in a dry summary as so many history books do. Indeed many histories lose sight of the fact that real men and women died in this tumultuous time in human history. It paints a fascinating picture of the effects of total war, a raw and unforgiving form of conflict to which our society is completely alien.

       Most students learn to idolize the Athenians as the forerunners to current Western philosophical traditions and the fathers of the many of our most important political institutions. Though what is omitted today is that these same Athenians frequently abandoned such ideals as war and hardship eroded their moral highground. He draws significant parallells between the modern United States and the Athenian state in regards to out own empire building abroad.  It is a poignant commentary on the modern world alongside a comprehensive story of a terrible and fruitless war.