"The father of history," as Cicero called him, and a writer possessed of remarkable narrative gifts, enormous scope, and considerable charm, Herodotus has always been beloved by readers well-versed in the classics. Recently, the critical and popular acclaim for The English Patient, whose hero makes The Histories his constant companion, has attracted a new, and wider, audience.
Compelled by his desire to "prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time," Herotodus recounts the incidents leading up to the Persian Wars and the Greeks' stunning victory over the more powerful invading Persian forces. But Herotodus gives us much more than military history. By employing multiple points of view and incorporating the diverse stories he collected during his extensive travels, Herotodus provides the fullest portrait of the classical world of the 5th and 6th centuries. And because he writes in a style highly susceptible to digression, his book includes all manner of marvelous observations--from ants the size of dogs in India, to people who live in caves and chirp like bats in Libya, to flying snakes in Egypt. Most importantly, throughout The Histories Herotodus shows us the ruin that comes to those who overreach their natural boundaries, who fail to heed sensible warnings or act without understanding the web of reciprocity that connects all things.
This superbly readable new translation, along with an illuminating introduction, provides readers all they need to appreciate Herodotus' enduring appeal. [via]