May 30, 2018 in Literature

A War like No Other

A War like No Other - book review sample

The Peloponnesian War is one of the most devastating wars of all time. The war conflict occurred in the fifth century Athens. The war continued for twenty-seven years and it altered the normal course of the ancient Greek states. The outrageous war led to loss of more than 40, 000 Athenians. Further, major cities such as Melos, Plataea and Mytilene were razed or brutally conquered.

The thesis of this essay is to analyze the Peloponnesian war according to Victor Davis Hanson’s book “A War like No Other”. Moreover, this main objective of this essay is to create a book review for Hanson’s book.

The only evidence relating to the war is present of Thucydides writings. Thucydides encountered the war and he wrote chronicles on how the war started. Moreover, Thucydides history explained the onset of the war and the unchanging nature of human beings. Hanson compares the Athenian war to the American war on terror after the September 11, 2001 terror attack. The author explains Thucydides chronicles about the unchanging nature of human beings in a modern perspective (Hanson, 201).

The war on terror almost resembled the Peloponnesian war in wider aspects. For instance, the deployment of American troops to Afghanistan and Iraq was almost similar to the deployment of Athenian armies to Sicily. The armies were brutally murdered and the ethical grounds of the war were conflicting. Some citizens stood for the war, while others voted against the war. The war on terror simulated an ascendant civilization or another Peloponnesian war doomed to last for decades.

The war between long time neighbors Athenians and Spartans relates with some of the deadliest wars in history. For instance, the first and second world war was characterized with neighboring countries turning against each other, with the issue of democracy at stake. According to Hanson, modern observers left at a dilemma when evaluating the effectiveness of democracy states in war conflicts compared to authoritarian states (Hanson, 580). Thucydides argued that democracy states were more imaginative and resilient than other governments in times of war.

The Peloponnesian war is important in history since it reflects on the dangers of uneven democracy. The war showed the dangerous effects of war since it lasted for twenty-seven years. Further, the war engaged two antithetical antagonists fighting to gain final arbitration of their diverse political and cultural values. The difference between our social and cultural values still divide us today and they have led to modern wars (Kagan, 168). In addition, the Peloponnesian war is important because it shows the falling of a dynasty at its golden age. The Greece dynasty had grown substantially only to perish in the war for good. The war also led to an insight on the morality and power of democracy after Athens lost the war.

Thucydides termed the war as a great war that entailed two parties that initially had tight relations. The war was fueled by the conflicting power affiliations between Athenians and Spartans. The war that rose from a simple feud led to the fall of a prosperous city that could have accomplished so much. Consequently, the Peloponnesian war reflected a turning point in history on the brink of civilization (Hanson, 600). It simulated the end of a period of progress, confidence, hope and prosperity. The war led to the beginning of endless atrocities for more than two decades. The unending nature of the great wars such as the Peloponnesian war, the first and Second World War gives the modern war so much to learn.

Civil wars are mostly brought up by political rivalry or cultural diversity even in the present world. The great Athenian War portrayed the failure of a democracy due to war misconceptions. In most cases, civil wars begin because either of the parties involved believe that victory would allow them superiority. However, evidence from all great civil wars that have occurred in history show the endless nature of wars and the damage caused by civil wars. Victory does not guarantee peace and it begins a series of endless battles as depicted by the Athenian war with carried on for more than two decades (610).

Thucydides war chronicles explained the clash of civilizations as inevitable because of the capitalist nature of human beings. However, Hanson considers evidence by other scholars about the inevitable nature of the Peloponnesian war. According to Professor Kagan, the Marxist nature of democracies does not provide substantial grounds for feuds. However, states start wars because of contradicting ideas, fears, perceptions, honors and for material grievances (Kagan, 300). Sparta’s role in the beginning of the Peloponnesian War does not simulate an avoidable situation; rather it simulates a post-Marxist era.

Professor Kagan argues that in the post Marxist era the human nature leading to war disputes is not the material grievances rather the psychological ideologies. For instance, Spartans started the Peloponnesian War because the sought after cheap victory and loyalty from other states after defeating Athens. Therefore, Professor Kagan coincides with Thucydides views that the great Athenian war was inevitable. Kagan views the war as triggered by psychological motives rather than material motives. He relates the war to the post-modern war on terror. Osama Bin Laden’s jihad war started as a psychological opportunity rather than material. Moreover, this is similar to Hitler led German war that was based on a psychological conviction Jewish people were doomed and they deserved the wrath of death through torture.


Hanson, V. D. (2010). Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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Kagan, Donald. (2008). The Peloponnesian War. Paw Prints.

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