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Download The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homers Iliad and the Trojan War Audiobook, by Caroline Alexander Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (433 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Caroline Alexander Narrator: Michael Page Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2009 ISBN: 9781423399230
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The dramatic events of the Trojan War are legend—but Homer’s epic poem, Iliad, is devoted entirely to a few mundane weeks at the end of a debilitating, waning ten-year campaign. The story’s focus is not on drama but on a bitter truth: both armies want nothing more than to stop fighting and go home. Achilles—the electrifying hero who is Homer’s brilliant creation—quarrels with his commander, Agamemnon, but eventually returns to the field to avenge a comrade’s death. 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 Achilles. Homer’s 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? Can death ever be compensated by glory? 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 in The Endurance and The Bounty, Caroline Alexander has taken apart a story we think we know and put it back together in a way that reveals what Homer really meant us to glean from his masterpiece. Written with the authority of a scholar and the vigor of a bestselling narrative historian, The War That Killed Achilles is a superb and utterly timely presentation of one of the timeless stories of our civilization. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiffany | 2/3/2014

    " Nice, in-depth reading of The Iliad. However, the author as biased towards Achilles as I am to Hector. So in my opinion she is a bit too invested in portraying Achilles in the best possible light and completely glosses over Achilles' horrific treatment of Hector's corpse. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rick sullivan | 1/22/2014

    " A must read for every fan of Homer's great work. This pulls it all into place. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nell | 1/14/2014

    " I read this for a book discussion; it's not something I'd have picked up. Doubtless it was a better book than I appreciated, so I'm giving it one more star than I was inclined to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Wernsing | 11/25/2013

    " Great for students required to read The Iliad. Explains everything in an easy to understand way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mackay | 11/21/2013

    " A marvellous book that turns the received wisdom about The Illiad on its head, providing an astute and fascinating look into and about the epic, the history, and the characters as they have come down the ages to us. (Additional bonus: the author used the Richmond Lattimore translation, which I love.) If you like the Classics or even have any vague interest in The Illiad, the Trojan War, or literary analysis, read this book! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda Serrano | 11/19/2013

    " This book really piqued my curiosity since I've read the Iliad a few times. It was ok. Not bad, but really, just read the Iliad - No great revelations to be found in this book. The point made is obvious in the Iliad itself: was is devastating and horrible. Caroline Alexander's premise is that the Iliad is an anti-war epic - but the treatment seems thin and slightly unfocused. The preface states: "This book is about what the Iliad is about; this book is about what the Iliad says of war." Therefore, again, my recommendation: read the Iliad instead. It's better, more interesting, and exciting. You can skip this one entirely, it disappointed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 B. Rule | 10/26/2013

    " A really excellent, thoughtful reading of the Iliad. Her thesis is basically that Homer intended to show the pointlessness of war, but the real value is in walking the reader through the plot of the Iliad and pointing out little touches that might otherwise go unnoticed. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James Meyer | 10/24/2013

    " I enjoyed this step-by-step analysis of the experience of war in the Iliad, but I'm not quite sure that it lives up to its description. At times, it felt more like someone offering a "greatest hits" commentary on the action of the poem. Enjoyable and insightful, but I lost the focus at times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janis | 9/25/2013

    " This analysis of The Iliad gave me many new insights into that great work, and did so with good scholarship, poignancy and occasional humor. A fascinating book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 9/5/2013

    " 4 stars for all the things I learned from this book. Her main point is repeated too bluntly a few too many times - it could have been a shorter book. But generally it's well written, and brings together a lot of research. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Margaret Sankey | 8/17/2013

    " Have we reached such a cultural nadir that it is "groundbreaking" to hammer (with excessive quotations from an old translation and recaps for the attention deficit) that the Iliad is about a war, and wars are timeless and sad. Really? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Joosten | 4/18/2013

    " The war that killed Achilles is everything a history lover mixed with a Homer fan could want. It has a lucid style, makes suggestions that are clearly plausible and well-researched, and has a healthy respect for the oral tradition behind Homer-as-we-know him. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 anthony | 3/30/2013

    " if you've ever read the Iliad, then read this book to get a new perspective. Or you might read the Iliad once you've read this book. great insight and research. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Ted | 3/14/2013

    " Over-regurgitated information provided by a floundering Richmond Lattimore lover. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen | 7/16/2012

    " An excellent dissection of the epic classic and its elemental echoing throughout the history of human warfare, as well as the effects of war upon those who are forced to experience it. Very expertly written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bcoghill Coghill | 9/15/2011

    " My favorite topic in literature. this is the best short analysis of The Iliad I have read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sherri Anderson | 6/26/2011

    " I love Homers books but this analysis of the story of Achilles was dry and boring and the best parts were the quotes from the stories themselves. I did not learn anything new from reading this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frank | 6/7/2011

    " I listened to this book. A wonderful experience. Listened to some parts multiple times. Great way to enjoy the classical commentary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rori | 5/29/2011

    " This was an excellent book. If you love The Iliad, you will love this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hanley5545 | 5/22/2011

    " Yet another excellent book by the author on the 2 great books about navigation... endurance and Voyage...covering The Bounty and Endurance. Plus great insight into the great poem and tale of the Iliad "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gcpumph | 5/4/2011

    " This book really breaks down the Iliad, which helps to understand the translation from the original text. Very good! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 B. | 5/2/2011

    " A really excellent, thoughtful reading of the Iliad. Her thesis is basically that Homer intended to show the pointlessness of war, but the real value is in walking the reader through the plot of the Iliad and pointing out little touches that might otherwise go unnoticed. Highly recommended. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Logo | 4/24/2011

    " I don't know if I'm too busy right now, just not in the right, or if this book is a little mind numbing. I am willing to take the blame, but I didn't particularly enjoy this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 4/16/2011

    " A story that's been told since 700 BC must be powerful. Caroline does a wonderful job explaining the plot, humanizing the the characters, and analyzing just how complex and carefully constructed this work is. The original is a very difficult read; this truly brings it all to life! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kona Stories | 3/1/2011

    " I was expecting history and got literary criticism. An excellent book if you want to learn about the Iliad and why it's such an important work, but not nearly as much history as I was looking for. Writing is good and it's a very thorough analysis of the Iliad. (Joy's review) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nell | 1/27/2011

    " I read this for a book discussion; it's not something I'd have picked up. Doubtless it was a better book than I appreciated, so I'm giving it one more star than I was inclined to. "

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About the Author
Author Caroline Alexander

Caroline Alexander has written for the New Yorker, Granta, Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian, Outside, and National Geographic and is the author of several books. She is the curator of “Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Expedition,” an exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History.

About the Narrator

Michael Page has been recording audiobooks since 1984 and has over two hundred titles to his credit. He has won eleven AudioFile Earphones Awards and in 2012 was a winner of the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. As a professional actor, he has performed regularly since 1998 with the Peterborough Players in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He is a professor of theater at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.