One of the best books of the last few years is Lords of the Sea: The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy and the Birth of Democracy, written by New Albany’s own Dr. John R. Hale. In that book, Hale introduces his history with a compelling story. Here’s a passage, lifted from lordsofthesea.org, that served as inspiration to my first run for public office.
“I cannot tune a harp or play a lyre,” said the Athenian soldier-statesman Themistocles, “but I know how to make a small city great.” His vision set Athens on a course towards greatness when Themistocles persuaded his fellow citizens to build a fleet of 200 warships known as triremes – long galleys propelled by triple banks of oars.
Some of you may have heard that I’m running for office in the New Albany city elections this year (the Democratic Party primary is May 3.) Dr. Hale’s book was instrumental, and the relation of the story of Themistocles leadership and vision had a real effect on my decision to offer my name to the electorate.
The book is called a “thriller history” by one reviewer and I have to agree. Hale perfectly balances the story without dwelling too long on any one segment and anytime I was ready to move on to the next thing, the author was right there with me.
This is a book about a little-known and little-understood era and if you like nonfiction, you owe it to yourself to read it. I can guarantee you an autographed copy, personalized if you wish, if you order the book prior to March 7.