Greek Warriors - Hoplites and Heroes is one of a series of books from the Casemate Short History stable.
- Carolyn Willekes
It’s relatively lightweight and has just 160 pages, but manages to cram an awful lot of information into such a small tome.
It covers the period of Greek history from The Persian Wars until the rise of Alexander the Great. Focusing primarily on wars and battles, rather than the economic, cultural or societal aspects of the Greeks, it’s still very informative.
To give that period of history its proper weight and heft would normally require thousands of pages over many volumes. To its credit, “Greek Warriors” covers the main battles and innovations in weapons and tactics over that time-span without feeling too compressed.
I have just finished listening to the Dan Carlin Hardcore History podcasts titled: “King of Kings,” which covers a lot of the same ground and seems like a perfect companion piece to this book.
Fans of Sparta will be well-served here, with the Battle of Thermopylae as one of the first chapters.
Written by Carolyn Willekes in an easy-to-read style, with clear explanations of the subjects, I can see this book being snapped up by schools as a very decent primer to the Peloponnesian War or Alexander the Great’s rule. This is the perfect book for a lunchtime read and it does a good job of transporting the reader back into those times and due to its brevity, it won’t wear out its welcome.
The problem with a pocket-sized book like this is that when you hit a spot that you really want to explore more, there isn’t the depth to satisfy that curiosity. That’s not necessarily a criticism, as that’s like complaining that you can’t fit a wardrobe into a Ferrari. It’s just not what it was designed for.
What “Greek Warriors” does and does well, is to introduce the major themes of the historic period and touch upon them. Carolyn Willekes writes in an accessible, easily digestible way that allows even the most history-averse scholar to enjoy the book.
I would definitely like to read more of her work in the future, preferably a thousand-page epic covering each of the major points in history that she’s covered here. Until that’s available, this will do nicely.
4.5 out of 5 Hoplites