More than 2500 years ago a confederation of small Greek city-states defeated the invading armies of Persia, the most powerful empire in the world. In this meticulously researched study, historian and Hillsdale College professor Paul Rahe argues that Sparta was responsible for the initial establishment of the Hellenic defensive coalition and was, in fact, the most essential player in its ultimate victory.
Drawing from an impressive range of ancient sources, including Herodotus and Plutarch, the author veers from the traditional Atheno-centric view of the Greco-Persian Wars to examine from a Spartan perspective the grand strategy that halted the Persian juggernaut. Rahe provides a fascinating, detailed picture of life in Sparta circa 480 B.C., revealing how the Spartans’ form of government and the regimen to which they subjected themselves instilled within them the pride, confidence, discipline, and discernment necessary to forge an alliance that would stand firm against a great empire, driven by religious fervor, that held sway over two-fifths of the human race.
This book is a paperback, written by a Hillsdale professor, and is recommended reading for Hillsdale's free online course, "Athens and Sparta"
"[Rahe] has an excellent eye for military logistics: His account of the practicalities of Xerxes’ vast invasion of Greece (what did those hundreds of thousands of men eat?) is crisp and persuasive."—Wall Street Journal
"Rahe’s book, the first in a projected trilogy charting the life of classical Sparta, is intensely well-researched and well-balanced . . . The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta tells the old stories in a new light, from the Spartan point of view."—Steve Donoghue, The National
"Masterful."—Joseph Bottum, Books and Culture