This is a political biography that fully explores the social, intellectual, historical and cultural environment of an extraordinary life. Pericles, rose to power on a surge of egalitarian activism that extended the franchise to the Athenian lower classes and survived the rough-and-tumble of popular politics for over thirty years. Athens in his day became an imperial power and the centre of a creative, artistic and intellectual outburst that made Athens "The School of Greece". Pericles presided over the brief but intense cultural flowering that preserved the idea of political freedom for two thousand years. Donald Kagan's biography brings Pericles to life against the background of his times, and shows him as the model of those later well-born statesman, such as Roosevelt and Churchill. He details the shifting internal political interests, the international conflicts, and the intellectual currents that shaped and guided Pericles remarkable career.
He also explores the perennial themes of democratic society - the tension between individual freedom and social control, the instability of popular will, and the risks that beset a volatile democratic government with expansive international powers and obligations. This narrative reminds us of the nobility of the democratic enterprise, as well its fragility and weakness. Donald Kagan is the author of a four-volume "History of the Peloponnesian War".show more