I have been interested in the classical world for as long as I can remember and though aware of the Minoan and Mycenaen civilisations they never captured my interest. A recent visit to the Cyclades islands raised my awareness of the third 'Cycladic' culture and inspired me to purchase this book.
This book provides an up-to-date excellent overview of the development of the civilisations of the Aegean (Crete, the Cyclades, and Southern and Eastern Greece) in the Bronze Age.
Most of the chapters takes an aspect of the development of these civilisations (e.g. environment, religion, etc.) as its theme. Within that theme it compares developments in Crete (Minoan civilisation), the Cyclades islands (Cycladic civilsation) and mainland Greece (Helladic civilisation) identifying the differences between these and the evidence for cultural influence both between them and from outside sources (e.g. Egypt, the Hittite Empire, etc.).
The approach is critical and balanced dispelling many of the assumptions made by early researchers and presents an impression of these societies that is both much more complex and more real. This book is about bronze age people and their lives not volcanic eruptions (Thera)or invasion, archaeological 'human interest' rather than historical 'drama'.
An early chapter on 'dating' provides a necessary framework of reference but makes for dull reading. I'd recommend skimming through it to get a general impression. Then move on the other chapters and refer back when necessary.