By John Prevas
The year is 403 B.C. The Athenian philosopher Xenophon finds himself with an army of Greeks marching to what is now Turkey. Their mission: to aid the Persian pretender Cyrus in a war against his brother Artaxerxes. At a great battle, Cyrus is killed and his army destroyed,except for the Greeks holding his right flank. Xenophon and the Greeks are now stranded in the heart of the Persian Empire, outnumbered a hundred to one. The story of Xenophon's march to escape the Persian noose is an intensely personal and human tale, replete with clashes of arms and desperate hardships. It is also the tale of two civilizations at mortal odds with each other. With their turbulent mix of anarchy and democracy, Xenophon's men resembled a mobile Greek city, cutting both a military and a cultural slash through the Persian Empire. Though Xenophon's journey would end badly, his experience in the East would prove invaluable for those who followed, for sixty years later, the Greeks would return to Persia under Alexander. John Prevas brings this epoch-shaping story to life with a compelling narrative vivified by his personal retracing of much of the route trod by Xenophon and his men in one of history's great adventures.