Top positive review
89 people found this helpful
Clear and concise - this book does what it sets out to.
on 5 November 2002
I bought this book because I did a Classics degree, and then forgot everything about it. I wanted to reacquaint myself with the Greek world through a well-written and well-regarded medium that wouldn't make my head hurt after a hard day at work.
The book itself is very well designed, arranged in sections that follow loosely a chronological order. Rather than aiming to give the reader a dry run-through of every significant event in Greek history, the book aims to provide its reader with an insight into, and an understanding of, the most important features of Greek history and culture. All the time, however, the chronological structure provides one with a sense of progression and development, and also prevents the reader with no prior knowledge of the period from becoming confused as to where everything fits in.
I don't honestly feel that any topic has been overlooked or neglected in the creation of this book. Greek history is a vast and absorbing topic - this book is concise and relatively short, so inevitably the reader comes away feeling that there is a great deal more that he/she would like to find out. Each section provides details of further reading to help with this. There is also a detailed time-line of events and some good maps, which contribute to the books usefulness as a reference tool.
The contributors are eminent academics who specialise in the areas that they discuss in the book. More importantly the contributors are not all the same type of academic and the different tones of their analyes are conveyed, though not over-poweringly, in their sections. Each topic is fairly treated with due consideration given to the most prevalent schools of thought in that area.
All in all I would say that this is an excellent book, practically and professionally conceived and created. It will provide the intelligent reader, with or without any classical knowlege, with a lucid treatment of the Greek and Hellenistic world, and make itself useful again and again as a basic reference tool.