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on 24 August 2016
Luminous and unorthodox account of the world that gave us Homer. Would be interesting to know why many scholars disagree with his dating of the works.

Would recommend flicking through a synopsis of the stories before reading!
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on 24 October 2014
The Mighty Dead, Adam Nicholson, William Collins, 2014, 314pp

This is a literary book about the poems of Homer, investigating and analysing the story, the poetry, the background, the influences, and just about every aspect that you can think of. It is extremely well-written, and immerses you in the world of the Ancient Greeks in a way that a traditionally-written history book would have difficulty achieving. There are copious notes and references included here, but tucked away at the back without any indication in the text that is not ‘just’ a book about poetry. I read it over three evenings, and didn’t even notice they were there until I had finished. If you have any interest in the poems of Homer or their place in European culture, this is an excellent view of contemporary research, literary, linguistic, archaeological and whatever, but woven together into a magnificent verbal tapestry.
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on 21 March 2017
A terrific read; I have not enjoyed a book so much for ages. Lyrical in places and a delight for a Homer-lover. I had not heard of it and found it by chance having seen Adam Nicolson's TV programme on the Bible. I'm now reading Arcadia.
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on 10 March 2017
Stunning view of what could be a dry subject. Offers so many different perspectives of early civilisation, quite eye opening.
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on 18 December 2016
This is an important book which reconnects our 21st century selves with the deepest layers of the human psyche, with its split between violence and the glorification of conflict, and the desire for civilised living and social control, between self-serving passions and desires and the need for empathy. It reveals the ancient origins of the epics and the wide ranging connections between ancient cultures across Europe and Asia, and demonstrates why, with their horror and beauty, the epics are still worthy of being read. The book is itself a work of great love and poetic expression. A joy to read.
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on 10 April 2017
Delightful romp through the past, full of opinion, wit and humour. You don't find many books with this sort of intellectual confidence and it's a joy!
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on 20 June 2014
This book is aimed at the general reader and does a wonderful job of explaining the continued importance of the Homeric texts. Having taught these epics for many years, I am grateful for this articulate explanation of the importance of the texts. I wish I could have done it myself.
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on 14 March 2015
A quantum leap...
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on 13 January 2016
"The Mighty Dead – why Homer matters" by Adam Nicolson is utterly astonishing.

It is the cleverest and most profound book on any subject that I have read in twenty years. It is not a difficult book, as some specialist books on, say, philosophy, theology and philology, for example, are, but it embraces all those and brings together all that makes us Proto-Indo-European speaking people what we are. From my limited vocabulary I'd call it a tour de force, de jeux, de joie, d'esprit; and then I've come nowhere near expressing its impact.

I can hook it up to Schweitzer's wonderful phrase, 'Wir Epigonen', straight from Greek meaning, We inheritors (of a profound culture and civilisation).

You can get it on Kindle for a couple of pounds. Then savour it for the rest of your life, knowing it was the best two pounds you ever spent.
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on 18 June 2015
Lovely, brilliant book about one man's love for Homer's works. It really is lovely to read but does get rather intense around the middle as he delves into his own life and experiences and puts them in perspective of Homer's verse.

Anyone who wants to read the Iliad or the Odyssey might like this book as a sort of introduction to the works themselves as Nicholson illustrates his personal views on the nuances and meanings that can be derived from them. Of course, this means there are spoilers but I think if you've had a broad education you should already have a grasp of what happens in the Iliad anyway.
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