Marathon: How One Battle Changed Western Civilisation
by Richard A Billows
Not a travel book as such but just the sort of book I like taking with me when I'm travelling somewhere ... in this case to Greece.
There's not a heck of a lot to see at the site of the Battle of Marathon - hardly surprising given that it occurred in 490BC - but knowing the story makes a visit more memorable ... and there is a nice little museum nearby.
The battle is best known for the legend of Philippides, who was said to have run 26 miles to Athens to deliver the news of the Greeks' unexpected victory over a much larger army of Persians.
But, as Billows argues, its outcome led to Greek ideas, including democracy, dominating Western Europe during the succeeding 2500 years.