More than 2,400 years ago one of the most thrilling war stories in history was being read and discussed in Greece. It was called the Anabasis and was written by a Greek noble named Xenophon, who described at first hand what he did, what he suffered, and what he saw during a campaign against the Persians.
In Exploits of Xenophon, Geoffrey Household cut the Anabasis to a quarter of its length and modernized Xenophon's style. It retells much of the war hero's own story, a superb picture of a valiant Greek army and its impact upon the ancient civilization of the East.
In that day, it was customary for men to hire themselves out as soldiers fighting for another country. More than 13,000 Greeks, including Xenophon, were serving with Cyrus, one of the imperial governors of ancient Persia. Cyrus wanted to seize the throne from his brother, Artaxerxes; but in the Battle of Cunaxa, Cyrus was killed and his Greek army was defeated. Panic seized the men as they realized they were leaderless and 1,000 miles from their native Greece. In short order, they selected Xenophon as one of their new commanders and began the heroic retreat through enemy territory. And all the way the armed Persian hordes continued their attack with poisonous arrows, sweeping sabers, or great boulders from high mountain passes.
To read The Exploits of Xenophon is to read a story as vivid as if it had been written by an army colonel in the last war.
Geoffrey Household worked with British Intelligence in World War II, covering much the same terrain that Xenophon did in the Middle East. Previously a World Landmark book.
Illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher. Cover by Johnny Shumate.