As someone who teaches courses in the Classics Department, I am obligated to say that the best way to learn about the complicated politics of Classical Greece is to read Thucydides. That said, Hanson’s book is a good substitute for those who do not want to wade through the dense prose and terminology of the ancient historian. This book is a highly readable overview of the Peloponnesian War that not only explores the reasons for and the consequences of the conflict, but also provides a host of insights about how wars were fought, city-states were governed and lives were lived in the Greek world of the 5th century BCE.