How to Think About War

November 22, 2019

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’ History of the Peloponnesian War for profound insights into military conflict, diplomacy, and the behavior of people and countries in times of crisis. Scholar Johanna Hanink discusses her new book How to Think about War: An Ancient Guide to Foreign Policy, which offers new translations of the artful Athenian speeches from History, a work that the ancient historian hoped would become a “possession for all time.”


Johanna Hanink is associate professor of Classics at Brown University and a scholar of classical Athenian history, literature, and culture. She is also the author of The Classical Debt: Greek Antiquity in an Era of Austerity (Harvard 2017) and Lycurgan Athens and the Making of Classical Tragedy (Cambridge 2014). Her writing on antiquity and its intersections with modern life has appeared in the Atlantic, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times, and the Times Literary Supplement.

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Categories: Classics