Why do nations go to war? What are citizens willing to die for? What justifies foreign invasion? And does might always make right? For nearly 2,500 years, students, politicians, political thinkers, and military leaders have read the eloquent and shrewd speeches in Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War for profound insights into military conflict, diplomacy, and the behavior of people and countries in times of crisis. How to Think about War presents the most influential and compelling of these speeches in an elegant new translation, accompanied by an enlightening introduction, informative headnotes, and the original Greek on facing pages. The result is an ideally accessible introduction to Thucydides’s long and challenging History.
“This slim, elegant book punches well above its weight, with striking, lucid translations of key speeches from Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War. The artfully curated ancient texts within these pages speak with prescience and complexity to the precarious moment in which we now live. Johanna Hanink’s How to Think about War is essential reading for anyone who wishes to know how great military powers fall, democracies implode, and empires end.”—Bryan Doerries, author of The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today
“Hanink’s accessible translation and commentary cut an easy path through the dense Greek of the famous speeches in Thucydides’s History, avoiding the snare of reading them at face value. The result is a compelling illustration of the danger of using Thucydides to defend contemporary political decisions.”—Donna Zuckerberg, author of Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age
“This invaluable collection presents the most vivid, thought-provoking, and important speeches from Thucydides’s work, which have inspired the analysis of politics, war, and international relations ever since. Johanna Hanink’s new translation makes them fully accessible to a modern audience, and her excellent notes both set them in their ancient context and draw out their significance for modern debates.”—Neville Morley, author of Classics: Why It Matters