Thursday, May 20, 2010

Achilles' War: The True Story of the Illiad Achilles' War: The True Story of the Illiad
by Caroline Alexander

It is the epic of epics, the most celebrated and enduring of all war stories ever told. - Caroline Alexander, Achilles' War, p 1.

This is an excellent book to read in conjunction with your latest rereading of Homer's Iliad, which is just what I have recently done. Caroline Alexander manages to emphasize the relevance of the Iliad for today by exploring references to other literature and deepening the meanings found within the Iliad by the reader. While Homer's epic stands alone for the serious reader, the addition of these resources widens the breadth of possibilities of understanding for the reader and, in my case, assisted in our discussion of the original text among our study group. What Ms. Alexander has not done is produce a traditional work of Homeric scholarship with commentary on linguistic expressions or the oral tradition. Rather this is more of an extended meditation on war and its meaning as beautifully expressed by Homer through Achilles and his other characters. The result is a successful addition to your reading and enjoyment of Homer but not a replacement for it.

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