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Barry Strauss & Sean Dorrance Kelly & Hubert Dreyfus

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Sunday, September 2, 2012 - 9:00pm

Alexander the Great, Hannibal and Caesar are considered three of the greatest generals of the classical world. All three were soldier-statesmen, boldly heroic, and each led dramatic raids into heavily defended enemy territory and won important battles. But what were the keys to their success and how did each ultimately fail? Tonight on Inquiry we talk with BARRY STRAUSS, professor of history and classics at Cornell University. His latest dynamic and entertaining history traces the battles and campaigns of the three great generals and reveals what made them tick and what their examples can teach us about great contemporary military leadership. Professor Strauss’ book is titled MASTERS OF COMMAND: ALEXANDER, HANNIBAL, CAESAR AND THE GENIUS OF LEADERSHIP.

“The world doesn’t matter to us the way it used to.” So begins one of the most unique and thought provoking books on literature and philosophy: ALL THINGS SHINING: READING THE WESTERN CLASSICS TO FIND MEANING IN A SECULAR AGE. Authors HUBERT DREYFUS, a leading interpreter of existential philosophy and SEAN DORRANCE KELLY, Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Harvard, believe that we no longer lead the intense meaningful lives like the Greeks did at Homer’s time or the Italians did at the time of Dante. They believe that the Enlightenment’s metaphysical embrace of the individual leads not just to a boring life, but inevitably to a nearly unlivable one. Can we once again find meaning in the secular 21st Century by looking to the history of Western literature? Is the answer to today’s nihilism to be found in Homer, Dante or Melville? Tune in tonight for the first part of a intense and  lively discussion of philosophy and literature.

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