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Extended Audio Sample The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today, by Bryan Doerries Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bryan Doerries Narrator: Adam Driver Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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This compassionate, personal, and illuminating work of nonfiction draws on the author’s celebrated work as a director of socially conscious theater to connect listeners with the power of an ancient artistic tradition.

For years, Bryan Doerries has been producing ancient tragedies for current and returned servicemen and women, addicts, tornado and hurricane victims, and a wide range of other at-risk people in society. Here, drawing on these extraordinary firsthand experiences, Doerries clearly and powerfully illustrates the redemptive and therapeutic potential of this classical, timeless art: how, for example, Ajax can help soldiers and their loved ones grapple with PTSD, or how Prometheus Bound provides insights into the modern penal system. Doerries is an original and magnanimous thinker, and The Theater of War—wholly unsentimental but intensely felt and emotionally engaging—is a humane, knowledgeable, and accessible book that will inspire and inform listeners, showing them that suffering and healing are both part of a timeless process.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “One has the feeling we are being watched by our ancestors, that they continually call out to us, bestow us with gifts of their wisdom, warn us about habitual traps and foibles common to all humans. We rarely have the presence to listen to, to receive that wisdom. Bryan Doerries asks: what lessons will we finally take to heart from these ancients? In this riveting narrative, simply but elegantly told, Doerries movingly resurrects the inner life of a people who lived 2,500 years ago but whose struggles evoke our own familiar and damaged present, now endowed by this wonderful book with more drama, more tragedy, more compassion, more possibility. Here is the proof at last: our future depends on the gifts of the past.”

    Ken Burns, Emmy Award–winning director and producer of documentary films

  • “I have always thought of Greek tragedies as the earliest public service announcements. Those ancient stories of family politics, their warnings about civic duty, and their parables of grief and its management are as vital today as when first written. Through his translations and public readings, and now this powerful book, Doerries offers modern audiences access to these ancient PSAs. We hunger and thirst for the guidance these plays contain.”

    Frances McDormand, Academy Award–winning actress

  • The Theater of War is an enthralling, gracefully written, and urgently important examination of the vital, ongoing relationship between past and present, between story and human experience, and between what the ancients had to report about warfare and human values and the desperate moral and psychological struggles that soldiers still undergo today. Bryan Doerries has given us a gift to be treasured.”

    Tim O’Brien, National Book Award–winning author

  • “This book illuminates how Greek tragedy penetrates to the deepest of levels in us all. It also shows how certain audiences, when given permission, can help illuminate the urgency and relevance of these ancient stories today. In his approach to tragedy, Doerries has found the way to remove out-of-date barriers and clean the outer crust of language with fresh words so that the essential can appear once more.”

    Peter Brook, award-winning director

  • “Bryan Doerries’ ongoing staging of Greek tragedies before US military personnel and others processing trauma is an act of courageous humanism: a tribute to vanished lives and a succor to current soldiers and citizens. In connecting the valiance and pathos of modern military life to a 2500-year tradition, Doerries has returned dignity to countless troops nearly destroyed by war. His capacious yet intimate book offers a privileged look into not only the psychological costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts and other proximate disasters but also the larger meaning of inhabiting an unpredictable and militarized world.”

    Andrew Solomon, National Book Award–winning author of Far from the Tree

  • “A deeply humane quest, movingly recalled. Doerries’ passionate search for meaning in ancient text has led him out of the dusty stacks of scholarship into an arena of ecstatic public engagement. He has taken his elegantly reasoned thesis—that the main business of tragedy has always been catharsis—and created a theatrical experience that has lifted countless audiences out of isolation and into profound community.”

    Garry Trudeau, Pulitzer Prize winner

  • “Bryan Doerries’s The Theater of War is a testament both to the enduring power of the classics and to the vital role art can play in our communal understanding of war and suffering.”

    Phil Klay, National Book Award–winning author

  • “The route Bryan Doerries describes in his memoir is as unique as the place it landed him…Moving…Mr. Doerries’ book loops around from autobiography to literary analysis to medical ethics and back again…It should win him a host of new admirers.”

    New York Times

  • “The theater of ancient Greece was many things…[It is] the therapeutic potential of catharsis that most interests Bryan Doerries… An impressive and accomplished journey.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[Doerries’] compelling, raw book is both memoir and manifesto; he chronicles his own gradual discovery of the power and relevance of Greek tragedies while also championing their social utility…Across a gulf of two and a half millennia, the Greek tragedians can still help us know and cure ourselves.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Extraordinary…Riveting…Doerries convinces us that we can find permission to feel our own pain. To see his productions today, or to see Greek tragedy through his eyes, is to become measurably healthier and more human.”

    Daily Beast

  • “Important and illuminating…This is an admirable book about an admirable project.”

    American Scholar

  • “In this moving and personal volume, Doerries shows how performances of Sophocles and Aeschylus can salve the mental wounds of soldiers with PTSD, as well as prison inmates and guards, terminally ill patients, and hospice workers…Doerries’ potent memoir reveals that the enduring power of Greek dramas lies in their ability to help us understand the present.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A potent reminder of the real-world potential of authentic drama.”

    Booklist

  • “A memoir of a man with a mission, bringing the message of ancient tragedies to modern audiences in need of the comfort of their compelling truths…Samples of his adaptations scattered throughout the book demonstrate that Doerries has a knack for putting ancient speeches into powerful modern words; hopefully, a companion volume containing the full texts will follow.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for Nonfiction
  • A 2015 Amazon Best Books of the Year Selection for Nonfiction
  • A 2016 Voice Arts Award Nominee
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