I read "The Histories" in a rather peculiar order (but in hindsight I found it to be a recommended reading pattern). As I was interested in "The Greeks in Peril" campaign I read:
- Book 7: The Xerxes invasion to Thermopylae
- Book 8: Sack and ruin of Attica and Athens until the unlikely victory at Salamis
- Book 9: The told you so ending at Platea
- Book 5: Those meddlesome Greeks being naughty on the Mediterranean coast and Black Sea
- Book 6: It all ends in tears for the Greeks as Darius get angry that is until he meets his match Marathon
- Book 4: Darius versus the Skythians and the Skythians win hands down, "never, never, never and try and catch a nomadic conglomeration of tribes with no fixed place worth for them to fight over, especially if most of your army is on two legs and all of their army is on four legs, and they have several thousand miles of steppe to run around in" (Hitler should have noted this about the Russians in WWII)
- Chapter 1: Who the Persians are why the "Cyrus the Great" was so important in the Persian psyche and how he came to sticky end underestimating the Skythians
- Chapter 2: Herodotus describes the Egyptians and you suddenly realise how big a part of the ancient world Egypt was, as everybody knew it was really, really old ad everybody feared it. No fighting (and it was a bit of a grind to get through) but it cast Herodotus as the first modern documentary producer. Half way between the National Geographic and the History Channel.
- Chapter 3: How after the death of Cyrus, Cambyses II (a deranged fellow but nevertheless he still managed to conquered Egypt - hence it was worth Herodotus spending all that time telling us about it in Chapter II) expanded the Persian Empire and how then Darius I after an internal squabble with the Magi (Persian religious hierarchy) who try a fast one to put a Mede back in charge, again expanded the Persian Empire.
And what did I get out of it? A lot of background for my "Greeks in Peril" game for sure! I will read it again (it's one of those books), but I'll also probably go for the Landmark edition with maps to get a better geographical sense of where things are ;)