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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on 20 July 2011
The Greek and Roman myths have become one of the most recognisable features of Western Civilisation; think of all the tv shows, art, films, and literature these myths have spawned. Nearly everyone has heard of the Apollo Missions to the Moon, or have seen cupid decorating Valentine cards, or seen films like Disney's Hercules or the Clash of the Titans at the cinema. Long after the religions that propped these myths up have disappeared, the images created by these tales still resonate with us.

Even so, I, like a lot of people, wasn't really familiar with the details of these tales - how they related to each other, or who was who. Thankfully this book provides a witty, well-researched and readable introduction to these ancient Myths.
All of the major gods and godesses are covered, including their origins, as well as other creatures such as the Titans, cyclopses, the Hydra, cerebrus; not to mention other magical creatures such as nymphs, satyrs, nereids and so on. We are also taken on a tour of the major stories from Greek and Roman mythology, such as the epic Trojan War, the Odyssey, Jason and the Argonauts, Theseus and the Minotaur, and so on. What's interesting is how the author explains the why and how's of these stories as well as giving us a look at how they impacted everything from Renaissance art to modern pop culture.

I personally found this book much better than Thomas Bulfinch's highly acclaimed work on the subject. For one, it is far more accessible - the writing is erudite and clear, without being pompous or dull. If anything the writing here is quite witty and funny - this isn't your average dry textbook, but then again it isn't as wacky as Horrible Histories either; which allows the author to pull off a good balancing act between being serious or humorous. The book is also quite beautiful, with over 90 illustrations (in black and white) inside a small gold leaf decorated hardback.

If you really are interested in dipping into ancient myths, and you can't be bothered wading through 'Victorian' tomes on the subject, then this is your best bet as it's a brilliant introduction.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 20 August 2014
I purchased this book wanting to introduce my children - 17 years and 11 years old to the Greek and Roman mythology. In the end the entire family young and old have enjoyed reading this book. Its a surprising gem and I recommend it to anyone who's interested in the classics. The book is engaging to the reader with a good sense of humour and it also links various mythological gods and heroes to our Modern World. Throughout the book the author has used illustrations from famous works of art such as paintings and sculptures which I found very good as it broadened my understanding of various artwork around the world . I liked this as it really shows how much of what we consider our "modern" world owes much to our classical historical past.
Its not an in depth book so dont expect to be reading long essays about each God and Hero but there is enough to keep you interested and at times intrigued to want to read more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2014
As an avid reader and lover of Greek Mythology, I chose to buy this book as it had some of the best reviews compared to other books. Already owning books from Greece and other hardback mythology books, this has to be up there with one of my favourites.
Although I haven't actually finished it, it's a very easy read and isn't completely populated with scripture or diagrams, but rather a balanced amount. Matyszak, the author, also goes about setting up the beginning and splitting the book into different chapters that make it easy to follow compared against other books on Greek Mythology. It's also very fun learning about Roman Mythology as the two subjects both tie in together quite nicely.

Would definitely recommend! As a last note, it's a very pretty book too and looks great on any book shelf.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2013
What an excellent little book this is. Not only a mine of useful information but so clearly laid out and written in an easy to read style with even dry humour showing through sometimes. Obviously written by an expert who knows the subject inside out but who is able to communicate with non-experts. It is what it claims to be, a Guide, not a comprehensive account, but as a first point of reference to look up any Greek or Roman god or myth it is brilliant.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2013
This book was recommended by our Art History lecturer and it meets all expectations - interesting and fun, plenty of detail and explanation and lots of humour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2013
An excellent reference and a good read as well. Since I got it I haven't put it down. Its so explanatory and you can easily see although the Greeks had a different take on forms of religion and certain myths it's so easy to relate to modern civilization and democracy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2014
I am very pleased with this publication.
Having studied Greek Mythology at O level, it is a good reference book and brings back the pleasure of my studies.
Excellent.
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on 31 July 2014
Well written, manages to get information across in as few words possible without patronising its reader. Recommended.
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on 22 July 2014
Great book, lots of very interesting and amusing stories. Well written for adult interest and entertainment
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To help with study of the classics, and also an interesting anthology if just read for entertainment.
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