The Athenian Women

The Athenian Women

Alessandro Barbero

History / Nonfiction

The Athenian Women offers a powerful vision of class struggle, the subjugation of women by men, and the courage needed to change the course of history.Athens, 411 BC. In the countryside, just outside the city gates, two veterans, Trasillo and Polemone, live in adjacent cottages. Years earlier they fought together in the infamous battle of Mantinea, where Athens was crushed by Sparta. The two survivors now live as humble farmers, constantly putting off the decision to find husbands for their two daughters, Glicera and Charis, who are beginning to get impatient. For the two old men the only thing that matters is politics. Athens invented democracy, and they must defend it against the rich oligarchs who plot to reinstate their tyrannical rule: even their neighbor Eubulo, a rich landowner who seeks refuge from the fatigue of city life in a nearby villa, cannot fully be trusted. Charis and Glicera think their fathers are paranoid. The young Cimone, son of Eubolo, rich,...
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The Battle

The Battle

Alessandro Barbero

History / Nonfiction

At Waterloo, some 70,000 men under Napoleon and an equal number under Wellington faced one another in a titanic and bloody struggle. In the end, as John Keegan notes, contemporaries felt that Napoleon's defeat had "reversed the tide of European history." Even 190 years later, the name Waterloo resounds. Italian historian Alessandro Barbero's majestic new account stands apart from previous British and French histories by giving voice to all the nationalities that took part. Invoking the memories of British, French, and Prussian soldiers, Barbero meticulously re-creates the conflict as it unfolded, from General Reille's early afternoon assault on the chateau of Hougoumont, to the desperate last charge of Napoleon's Imperial Guard as evening settled in. From privates to generals, Barbero recounts individual miracles and tragedies, moments of courage and foolhardiness, skillfully blending them into the larger narrative of the battle's extraordinary ebb and flow. One is left with...
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The Anonymous Novel

The Anonymous Novel

Alessandro Barbero

History / Nonfiction

Set in Gorbachev's Russia, The Anonymous Novel is a complex and compelling story of many varied characters dealing with the problems of change, coming to terms with the past and fretting about the future. Barbero manages that typically Italian trick of combining both humour and profundity, and his exceptional storytelling skill are even more clearly displayed than in this, his finest novel. The murder of Pashayev, a leading Muslim cleric in Azerbaijan, triggers a series of events. This is not a murder mystery, as the reader knows who the culprit is from the very beginning, whilst the other characters, including the investigating judge, never do, but there is nevertheless a tension - suspense even - that holds the reader, who is in any case fascinated but the breadth of the intellectual argument, the wit and the observation of human nature. Vitali Vitaliev has described this book as "a literary miracle - unique, witty and gripping. It reads like Bulgakov's prose somewhat modernised...
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