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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2007
This is a badly written book which reads like a first draft and needs the service of a decent editor. The main problem is repetition. Another problem is repetition, so we are repeatedly told the same thing as if for the first time on several occasions. For instance the removal of a Caryatid from Eleusis by Clarke is told three times in the space of a dozen pages. At one point she manages to repeat herself in the same paragraph.

Dr. King's attempt at narrative history founders on her inability to control her subject matter in a disciplined manner. The plot leaps backwards and forward leaving the reader bewildered. For example, the `Nisbets' are recorded as having returned to Scotland, yet in the following paragraph are still in the Levant. I found myself repeatedly flicking back through the pages with a furrowed brow wondering what I had missed.

One page 222 we are told that `Lancret' was able to read the Greek inscription on the Rosetta stone. This is the only mention of him in the entire book. Who is he? I don't know, the author didn't tell me. On page 21 Miltiades is mentioned, but has to wait several more pages before he is actually introduced as a Greek General.

The really annoying chapter of the book is the one on Marbles themselves. The publishers do not include a plan of the Parthenon, so it is almost impossible to keep track of the descriptions. There is no glossary. The use of abstruse architectural terminology could have been softened with an explanatory diagram but isn't. The end result is confusion and frustration rather then enlightenment.

I am annoyed by this book, as there is a much better book within it. Clearly the publishers had little faith in the work otherwise they would have printed it on better quality paper. As it is, within ten years this book will look older than the marbles themselves.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2008
Without doubt the worst and most annoying book I purchased (silly me) during 2007. The 'argument' is shockingly unbalanced and prejudiced - in favour of Elgin when we do finally get there, and against Byron whose stance is seriously misrepresented. It is also littered with inaccuracies and historical errors en route: Demosthenes was a 'famous Greek philosopher' apparently, the date of Athens turning democratic is wrong, dates in modern Greek history are distorted or ignored in order to prop up the 'Elgin' case etc. etc. On top of that, it is tediously repetitous and in places almost even self-contradictory. Don't publishers employ competent editors who know anything any more? Or can edit? (answer: remarkably few, unfortunately). It isn't even a good polemic - for which a case might, just might, be made. Some of the history of the Parthenon is actually interesting and has some value for a general readership, but this is blown by the dubious quality of what surrounds it. Zeus preserve us from some pea-brained TV executive thinking there is a glib programme lurking somewhere in this deeply flawed effort with the self-promoting 'PhDiva' queening it up as presenter...

The author in the Acknowledgements makes a gratuitously catty remark about Evangelos Venizelos, former Greek Culture Minister, not having answered her questions - adding 'but politicians rarely do'. Given 'Dr' King's approach to accuracy and balance, others might also consider that to be rather good advice.
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2006
Dr King's book has been reviewed by the press it's been long ago (since last year if not mistaken), and there are used books already at Amazon, so why is she accusing people of writing reviews before having read it? I recently read a review by "The Independent" online, which was hardly of praise for the book. Personally I found the book, but also Dr King's Press talks, quite aggressive and passionate and I wonder why and whether this is an appropriate academic behaviour. In addition, I expected to read a book of academic standards, so I did not appreciate the rambling at certain parts and the tasteless jokes and gossips about politicians such as M. Merkouri. Finally, archaeological inaccuracies complete the picture. For example, the Parthenon was mainly a temple devoted to Athena, despite its other uses by the people of Athens. Before the present 5th century BC building there was another Parthenon under construction, but it was destroyed by the Persian attacks. The Parthenon was definitely a building that stood out on Acropolis, and its decorations could be seen clearly, especially as the naturally honey-coloured marble (that the British Museum turned to bright white with surface destruction!) and the individual figures sculpted on it were coloured with bright colours, like red and blue. This is known by few, as the Victorians spread the wrong impression that the Greek temples were 'white as doves'.
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12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2007
A thorough if repetitive re-hash of the same old arguments. Needs a good edit.

Ms King needs to travel more to shake off her fearful British stuffiness. Her world view is of Bloomsbury.
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16 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2006
I preordered the book and received it a few days ago. I have to be honest and say that this book is really bad. It reads for like a science fiction novel. In my opinion it's not based on facts. The author seems to be very biased about the whole issue. I don't recommend this book at all. If people are interested in educating themselves about the Parthenon Marbles, there are other great books out there that will do that in a more enjoyable way.
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20 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2006
I had written a review on this book a long time ago. It was published on the site, but now it exists no more. Why? Is it because it was negative and would affect the book's profile and sales?
As for the book, I do not think that Ms King believes really in what she writes. This book is SO ignorant, especially for a PhD holder, that its only reason of being could be publicity at all costs towards Ms King's person. It takes advantage of a very serious issue, analysed by very serious scholars and politicians, for personal gain. This is 'hubris'.
Another point that beats me is that male reporters write kudos for Ms King mentioning her physical beauty. Since when beauty is a criterion for academic credibility?? Oh, Please...
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20 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 21 February 2006
There are several valuable, scientifically prestigious, editions about Acropolis monuments and their impact today. The best imho is "The Parthenon and its impact in modern times", Melissa Publications, Athens 1994 (collective edition of several top scientists of the field). Even if we want a small, easily readable, but interesting and reliable handbook of an English scientist expressing the arguments-would-to-be of the British Museum too, "The Parthenon" of Mary Beard is a fair choice. This one of Dr. King, aka PhDiva (sic), is just the crap writing of a prejudiced would-be scientist, written for no only other purpose than supporting the barbaric dismantlement of our (for all western civilized people, at least) holy monuments.
This blond PhDiva (sic) is a living embarassement for all honourable English hellenists, classicists, or common civilized English citizens (see e.g. The British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, parthenonuk.com), supporting the restoration and unity of Akropolis, the holiest natural, architectonical and artistic monument of our Western civilization. Fortunatelly, we know she does not at all represents the majority of English people.
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16 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2006
This has to be one of the stupidest and prejudiced books that I have I have read. The Autor is very good at ignoring the facts that do not support her prejudiced opinion. For poeple thinking of spending their hard earned money on this garbage do your selves a favour, Don't buy it. It's a waste of time and money.
Greece is 100% justified in wanting the return of the Parthenon Marbles and I truly beleive that they will be returned to Greece one day. Regardless of what some ignorent woman has to say. A waste of paper this stupid book. Luclily the publishing company used recyclable materials to print this book. Recycle it again , as quickly as possible, is my advice to anyone who buys it and wastes their time reading it.
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14 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2006
This is a horrible book. I think the author is very prejudiced towards Greek people. I am not Greek but I totally support Greece for wanting the Parthenon Marbles back. Now more than ever after reading this ignorent book. It's very obvious that the autor is using this book for her own publicity.
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15 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2006
Much has been said and written about this book already. To be honest, the discussions and angry reviews clearly show two main points: the reviewers have clearly not read this fine book, but they base their sharp criticism on one or two lines taken out of their context which they have most probably read in newspaper or internet articles. Most of the discussions in newspaper articles and reviews are filled with angry personal emotions against Dr. Dorothy King. Their anger is caused by the fact that she argues against the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece. This is, indeed, a very controversial position. However, personal opinions are permissible in modern Europe. At any rate, the readers should do justice to the content of the book and read all of it, instead of only reading isolated excerpts illustrating Dorothy King's personal views on the Elgin Marbles.

The book consists of 18 chapters beginning with a prelude, a very useful ten-page bibliography for the interested reader, and it closes with a fifteen-page index making it very simple to look up any reference in the book. It gives a general introduction to the history of Athens before concentrating on the history of the Parthenon and its sculptures. The chapters on the later history of the Parthenon and especially the history of its marble sculpture better known as the Elgin Marbles show Dr. King's profound knowledge of the subject and the inside history of the politics regarding these controversial marbles.

Thus, she has demonstrated that a very difficult subject can be put forward in such a way that everybody can appreciate its complexity, and she has done it with an extraordinary grace. She has not only described the history of the Elgin Marbles, but she also written an important contribution to the ancient and modern history of Athens. In general, the book is very well-written, and the language is clear and precise. It is simply a must for the readers interested in Athenian history and not least Classical Archaeology.

Jesper Jensen
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