The First Clash cover

Review: The First Clash

The First Clash: The Miraculous Greek Victory at Marathon and Its Impact on Western Civilization

by Jim Lacey
Bantam (2011)

The First Clash coverA great work for those interested in ancient history, especially military history. Although the battle itself takes up little space here, the work up to it and the results of it should be known to all westerners. Yes, it was that important.

The research that must have gone into this book is incredible. Using contemporary accounts—with caveats for imagination and politics—and more-recent scholarly works, Lacey presents a large chunk of the “big picture.” Although it seems like he picked through Herodotus quite conveniently, the author—a professor of strategy, war, and policy and a former military officer— has had many years of study and investigation to decide what to believe. Most of his conclusions seemed sound enough, and although we will never know some pertinent details about this period, the overview was much appreciated.

There are several maps included which would have been easier to use in the print book than the ebook. The Dramatis Personae is very helpful as a way to keep the many Greek and Persian names distinct. The notes section is a wonderful place to find more reading about this subject.

I am very glad I read this book. Highly recommended for students of military history.

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