I've already mentioned how little I knew about ancient Rome; now I'll admit to how little I knew about ancient Greece. I knew about the stereotypes of Sparta (warlike) and Athens (democratic), but other than some names and places, that was about it. But that's what books are for, right?
This is a rewarding book to have finished but it wasn't easy to read. Even though it's just under 200 pages there's a lot of names and places that make it a bit confusing for someone new to the history and it's not the kind of book I could breeze through. I had to make an effort to go slower to absorb it, frequently rereading paragraphs and sometimes pages. Scholars and those interested in this particular era will certainly find this book an essential read, but I think others like myself with a strong interest in history will find it appealing as well. Mr. Lacey does an excellent job of interpreting the history from the fragmented and incomplete accounts that have survived the intervening 2,500 years (frequently pointing out where Herodotus was probably lying, and why), and his experience as both a historian and a soldier makes it exceptionally insightful (and his account of the battle is pretty fascinating). I can't attest to the validity of his conclusions but they sure made sense to me! (I received this book from Amazon Vine.)