Wow

Hi Phil & Andre,

Last night I read book 7 of Thucydides, and I’m still reeling from the force of it.  Best historical writing I have ever read.  By far.

Andre, I found that quote you mentioned.  In a letter, after talking about Cicero, Caesar, and other Romans and how great they were, Lord Macauley wrote:

But what are they all to the great Athenian? I do assure you that there is no prose composition in the world, not even the De Corona, which I place so high as the seventh book of Thucydides. It is the ne plus ultra of human art. I was delighted to find in Gray’s letters the other day this query to Wharton: “The retreat from Syracuse–Is it or is it not the finest thing you ever read in your life?”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Babbington_Macaulay

Which raises the question: if you had to recommend to someone the books you thought were the best you’d ever read, what would they be?  War & Peace for me, and Brothers Karamazov, and now books 6 & 7 of Thucydides.  I’d be curious to know what makes your short list.

-Mark Casey

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One Response to Wow

  1. November 01, 2007 at 12:04 PM says:

    <p>Thanks for sharing the full quote from Macaulay. As for my favorite works, thank you for asking. If I were stranded on a desert island, Thucydides and War and Peace would definitely be on my short list as well. I would add Herodotus, James Joyce’s Ulysses, Homer’s Iliad, Vergil’s Aeneid, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and the Bible. These are the books I most want to re-read at any given moment these days.</p>

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