It took me years to track this book down having seen the BBC documentary as a child - I was not disapointed. I'm a complete newcomer to Greek History and found the size of the subject daunting. However, Michael Wood's book on the Trojan War conveys his enthusiasm, which is contagious, and couldn't be any clearer in setting out the arguments regarding the siting and dating of the Trojan War and the questions raised by Homer's 'Iliad' (eg. is it a literal account? Is the poem the work of one man or a several poets over a period of time?)
The unravelling of such a mystery should be exciting and he conveys this easily. The results of the original excavations by Schlieman in the late 1800's and the implications for later generations of archaeoligist's in the way he worked are explained and the story is brought right up-to-date with more recent digs by Manfred Korfman and also the discovery of the so-called 'Jewels of Helen' which disappeared in the Second World War.
It's a huge subject and he clearly explains how it also links into Arthur Evans' work in Crete with the Palace of Knossos and the search by others for the Palace of Agamemnon at Mycenae (One of the key-players in the Trojan War).The book also dispelled my initial worry that I would not be able to follow the arguements relating the dating of the finds and different civilisations. Simple diagrams and tables are included for easy reference.
It has formed an excellent platform for me to explore further in this field of history. I have gone on to read Homer's 'Iliad', Leonard Cottrell's 'Bull of Knossos' and 'The Lion Gate' alongwith Schliemann's 'Troy and It's Remains' and Susan Heuck Allen's 'Finding the Walls of Troy'.
Best of all these though, is still my loveworn copy of this particular book. Thank-you Michael Wood for bringing this subject to life!