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A. Harden (Oxford, UK)

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Greeks at War (Essential Histories Specials)
Greeks at War (Essential Histories Specials)
by Philip De Souza
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars An easy introduction, but a couple of clangers..., 13 May 2006
This book - part of a series primarily aimed at military history fanatacists - was thankfully written by some of the most knowledgable historians in the field, and presents a very straightforward, readable, and well-illustrated account of the subject matter. It's actually something of a compilation of three books (with a rather wimpy new preface by the eminent and ultra-Conservative American historian-upstart Victor Davis Hanson), and in the compilation process the book presents some amusing editorial infelicities.

First of all, in the 'contents' page the first section (on the Persian wars) is given the unusual dates of 449-386BC, whereas the chapter refers to events from 499-480! Secondly: throughout the book there are illustrations, which appear in the first section, of items which then reappear in the second section in different photographs, so for example there's a rather dramatic black-and-white picture on p.24 of a Corinthian helmet which then reappears in glorious colour on p.130. Similarly, the Hellenic Navy's reconstructed trireme is given two chances to amaze the reader.

Not that these editorial oversights detract at all from the quality of the prose, which is very concise and useful but sadly devoid of references & so recommended as an introduction for undergraduates and as a guide for enthusiasts.

The Greek World 479-323 BC (The Routledge History of the Ancient World)
The Greek World 479-323 BC (The Routledge History of the Ancient World)
by Simon Hornblower
Edition: Paperback

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 15 Mar. 2006
This is the only guide to Greek history you'll ever need. Some of the finer points of chronology are disputed, but Hornblower's account is always objective and his careful referencing enables any attentive scholar to go further on their own.

An American Prayer
An American Prayer
Price: £8.90

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Putting the Doors in context, 5 May 2004
This review is from: An American Prayer (Audio CD)
This album has an appealingly polished veneer: the new music sounds fresh and vibrant, and Jim Morrison's wonderful voice floats slickly over the top. The new music of the Doors sounds tailor-made to fit his poetry, with familiar reworkings of old themes and recurring elements. The poetry itself is very vivid, if a little jarring at times for its more explicit content; I feel that this album is most valuable for the samples of older Doors' recordings and Jim Morrison's singing; the poetry and samples don't help to explain the older lyrics, but put them in context: they make the lyricist, who is frequently lost behind the instrumentalists, stand out as a poet.

V.A.S.T.  - Visual Audio Sensory Theater (East West)
V.A.S.T. - Visual Audio Sensory Theater (East West)

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed Genius, 28 Feb. 2004
But genius nonetheless... this is a fabulous album with spot-on metal guitar and brilliant sampling. His singing is wonderful and the song with solo cello and vocals is mind-blowing... IF you're in the right frame of mind. Approach this from the wrong angle and it's a laughably pompous exercise in artistic self-gratification. The lyrics can be slightly on the pigin-theology side, and some of the more suggestive/sexual lyrics have to be taken with a pinch of salt (not that the album is particularly vulgar). The trick is not to take it too seriously, to appreciate the musician rather than the poet; having said all that, the music makes it a thoroughly worthwhile purchase.

To Record Only Water For Ten Days
To Record Only Water For Ten Days

3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just because it's a Frusciante..., 23 Feb. 2004
Having previously only listened to post-Slovak Chilis, and being a huge fan of Frusciante's guitar work (especially on Californication) I invested in Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a T-shirt. I thought they were fabulous recordings. When I saw that he released a 'post-reformation' solo album, naturally my expectations were high; this album has rather let me down. It received a brilliant reception but it seems to me that people are dazzling themselves with the fact that it's John Frusciante, and 'the songs are so emotional' etc etc. If that's what your after then get 'Niandra...': this album just doesn't sparkle and there are no memorable guitar lines. The whole thing just sounds forced and doesn't work for me. He's a tortured genius, certainly, but he really doesn't show it on this album.

The Magic City
The Magic City

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How inventive can you get?, 21 Feb. 2004
This review is from: The Magic City (Audio CD)
This album is fabulous... it really gives you faith in modern songwriting. It is incredibly diverse and very experimental yet at the same time it's totally accessible; the guitar work is amazing and Mary Timony's lyrics and vocals are superb. The album doesn't sag anywhere and to the last track remains vibrant and original, largely because of the wealth of different instrumentation, and the concept pieces. Brill.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 25, 2010 2:59 PM BST

The Sixteen Satires (Penguin Classics)
The Sixteen Satires (Penguin Classics)
by Juvenal
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.39

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Green's revision hits the mark, 25 Sept. 2003
I studied this book for Classical Civilisation last year and found it an extremely refreshing rendering of an author whose medium (the satire) has been mauled and abused by even the best of English translators. I picked up a second much inferior translation of this book to reinforce my learning and instantly appreciated the quality of Peter Green's method: he avoids sucking the life out of Juvenal's poetry through prose translation but doesn't go so far as to force the advanced and passionate sentiments into dry showy Dryden-esque iambics or rhyming couplets. The result is an unrhyming semi-poetic rendering; beautifully and entirely naturally rhythmic. He also meets an audience mid-way between scholar and 'layman' by removing references to unknown people referred to in the text, thus avoiding clumsy English (which may also be seen as a trifle patronising on the translator's part), and providing an thorough endnotes and a bibliography for each satire. The introduction and preface are also hugely informative. However I find his (to me) unique method of applying endnotes a little irritating: he often places the endnotes twenty lines apart and then explains all of the different points in the preceeding twenty lines, rather than the more orthodox way of applying one note per reference. However this is, I assume, an attempt at making the experience of reading the work a more fluid one and only jarred on me as I was studying it in conjunction with other texts which use the more traditional method.
In any case this is a wonderful book, finally hitting that hard to reach mark between poetry and prose.

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