Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
Erudite, comprehensive and entertaining!
on 6 June 2008
In his reaching for both Homeric and contemporary literature from other cultures and civilisations, Strauss draws a convincing and immersive picture of one of history's great epic stories.
Weaving the gods into his history in an unpretentious manner, he offers explanations and interpretation but doesn't make a hubristic attempt to tell the tale better than Homer. Where there is a paucity of direct evidence for the events and characters portrayed, he brings to bear a convincing number of alternative positions from which to view these mostly familiar stories. Hector and Achilles are shown to be tragic heroes, both driven by a reckless pride and lust for glory. But we also see their human side through an examination of the characters around them - the grieving wives, the lost friends, the flawed leaders and crafty generals.
This is an academic but thoroughly accessable work and I don't think that the author's approach to weaving a convincing narrative around his subject should be considered a shortcoming. Quite the reverse, this is history at it most engaging, enlightening and enjoyable.