The Iliad, Homer translated by Caroline Alexander, 2015

They don’t call this an epic for no reason!  Ten years into the Trojan War, the Greeks (Achaeons) remain deadlocked between their ships beached at the wine-dark sea and the walls of Ilion.  Achilles, the son of Peleus and the goddess Thetis, is pouting because Agamemnon has taken away a woman he had won in battle  , and that has been bad news for the Greeks who are repeatedly pushed back by Hector.  When Patroclus, Achilles best companion, is slain by Hector, Achilles finally relents and joins the battle, killing Hector, and turning the tide.  This translation is very readable and flows smoothly over the complex and name-studded terrain.  Bodies are cleaved, pierced, hacked, and otherwise torn asunder and thud, crash, and otherwise stain the earth with their blood, teeth, brains, bowels, and other body parts.  Every general and president should read about this book about war and its devastating impact on the individual and their family, up close and personal.  No drones, but lots of hand to hand violence and loss.  No ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ but Fate and the interventions of the gods, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Aphrodite, and Ares on the side of the Trojans and Athena, Poseidon, and Hera duking it out for the Greeks.  The son of Cronus, aka Zeus, can’t seem to make up his mind, though one gets the feeling he’s pulling for the Trojans.   Not sure how Homer got from Achilles and Priam in Book 24 to the first book of the Odyssey, but both have certainly been worth the effort to re-read after Humanities 2 and Eliot House’s Master Finley in 1964!