Few warriors, in life or literature, have challenged their commanding officer and the rationale of the war they fought as fiercely as did Homer's hero Achilles. Today, the
Iliad is celebrated as one of the greatest works in literature, the epic of all epics; many have forgotten that the subject of this ancient poem was war - not merely the poetical romance of the war at Troy, but War, in all its enduring devastation.
Using the legend of the Trojan War, the
Iliad addresses the central questions defining the war experience of every age. Is a warrior ever justified in challenging his commander? Must he sacrifice his life for someone else's cause? Giving his life for his country, does a man betray his family? How is a catastrophic war ever allowed to start - and why, if all parties wish it over, can it not be ended?
As she did with
The Endurance and
The Bounty, Caroline Alexander lets us see why a familiar story has had such an impact on us for centuries, revealing what Homer really meant. Written with the authority of a scholar and the vigor of a best-selling narrative historian,
The War That Killed Achilles is a superb and utterly timely presentation of one of the timeless stories of our civilization.