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The Greek Myths: Stories of the Greek Gods and Heroes Vividly Retold
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2012
I bought this book for my teenage daughter as a bridge between the childrens versions of the Greek Myths and the translated texts. It gives comprehensive unbowdlerised coverage of all the stories,(even Rosemary Sutcliff's superb retelling of the Illiad omits the sacrifice of Iphigenea) but for me its chief strength is in the quality and range of the illustrations used. These go from early greek pottery to 21st century sculpture, beautifully reproduced to match the high production values of the book itself, making it a joy to own. I would have bought it for the pictures alone. The text is fine, if sometimes showing the 'joins' between two authors and thus aiming at poetic effect in some areas and not others, but my daughter read it straight through without any complaints and I may be showing my age here. If I was only interested in the text I would stick to Robert Graves, but I am not sure my daughter would agree. I will probably test that this Christmas!
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2012
Loved this book: the writing, the illustrations, and the organization. You MUST add this book to your library, but you MUST read it before shelving!!

The writing: I was gripped by this description of Clytemestra preparing to murder her husband, Agamemnon, after he triumphantly returned home from the Trojan War: "For a moment she hesitated: he had become so toughened by ten years of warfare that he seemed invulnerable and somehow magnificent. But she stiffened her resolve, and no sooner had he risen, dripping, from the relaxing warmth of the water than Clytemestra entangled his limbs in a sheet, and trapped him as effectively as a proud stage in a net." See why the subtitle of the book is "Vividly Retold"?

The illustrations: The book includes everything from the traditional Greek vases and sarcophagus reliefs to marble statues, oil painting by European masters and Italian frescoes--all in color on high-quality glossy paper. Many illustrations were new to me, such as the sensual eighteenth-century oil painting by Jacque-Louis David, "The Love of Helen and Paris," with this caption by the authors: "Paris found that he was better suited for the bedroom than the battlefield." Vivid captions, too!

The organization: Finally a reader can fit these thousands of stories into manageable categories. In addition to the usual sections about the twelve gods, the Trojan War, Odysseus' return, the heroes are creatively presented in the cities of Thebes, Mycenae and Athens. Vividly understandable.

Definitely buy this book. Worth every pence or every penny, in my case, here in the USA. -- Marilyn Rouvelas, Arlington, Virginia
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2014
This is a nice book for those looking for an introduction into the Greek myths. My only qualm with it really is that the prose and the stories are a little simple... if you already have a basic understanding of the main tales, then this book isn't going to give you anything else additional to the knowledge you already have. It's definitely a book for those who aren't looking to get into the stories seriously and just want a basic point of reference.

Otherwise, it's a nice light read and not too overwhelming. So perfect for someone looking to be inspired; it definitely leaves you wanting a more in-depth look...! I find myself now very interested in other interpretations and any different perceptions of these classic mythological stories.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 21 February 2014
It's actually quite hard to find a really readable but comprehensive guide to Greek mythology. At first I was put off by the 'vividly retold' bit, thinking that it might be a dumbed down jobbie. But I bought it anyway and was glad I did. Waterfield is very accessible, but does not compromise on detail. Beautifully illustrated too. Strongly recommended for non-academics like me.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2013
Greek mythology has always been a sizeable gap in my classical education and at 60 years of age I felt it about time I did something about it. Reading this book is a pleasure. It is well set out and gives the reader a great perspective into the thinking behind the myths. Well written. Thank you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2014
This is a book about the Greek myths that tells each one in plenty of detail, including stories about the gods and about the historical background to them..
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2013
I am a beginner when it comes to knowing anything about Greek myths and this was the perfect book to tell me all about them. It's told in a story telling manner that's easy to understand but not patronising and with lots of description that makes it an enjoyable read. There were lots of confusing names that made it a little tricky to follow but that's in the nature of Greek myths I guess. Sometimes within sections it did tend to jump around a bit, which got a little confusing but rereading the last couple of sentences sometimes helped to clarify my understanding. Overall however, it was a great purchase that I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys the topic and reading, not for children but not so complex that it's for academic purposes. :) x
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a re-telling of the whole range of ancient Greek myths by a renowned classicist. While these are, of course, in themselves great timeless stories, the writing style is quite matter of fact and does not necessarily make the events sound particularly exciting, e.g. the twelve labours of Heracles section read to me as for the most part rather a dull list. The near half of the book that covers the narrative of the Iliad and the Odyssey flowed more easily, no doubt in part because these stories are so familiar, rightly some of the most famous stories in Western literature. Great illustrations throughout though, and a useful bibliography for follow up reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2013
I bought this book to learn about Greek mythology and wanted a book that is easy to read. This book does so so well. Wonderful storytelling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2014
Some variation on 'accepted' versions of Greek Mythology but fairly comprehensive. Writing cliché ridden and fairly amateurish.
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