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Could do better
on 7 February 2007
This is a badly written book which reads like a first draft and needs the service of a decent editor. The main problem is repetition. Another problem is repetition, so we are repeatedly told the same thing as if for the first time on several occasions. For instance the removal of a Caryatid from Eleusis by Clarke is told three times in the space of a dozen pages. At one point she manages to repeat herself in the same paragraph.
Dr. King's attempt at narrative history founders on her inability to control her subject matter in a disciplined manner. The plot leaps backwards and forward leaving the reader bewildered. For example, the `Nisbets' are recorded as having returned to Scotland, yet in the following paragraph are still in the Levant. I found myself repeatedly flicking back through the pages with a furrowed brow wondering what I had missed.
One page 222 we are told that `Lancret' was able to read the Greek inscription on the Rosetta stone. This is the only mention of him in the entire book. Who is he? I don't know, the author didn't tell me. On page 21 Miltiades is mentioned, but has to wait several more pages before he is actually introduced as a Greek General.
The really annoying chapter of the book is the one on Marbles themselves. The publishers do not include a plan of the Parthenon, so it is almost impossible to keep track of the descriptions. There is no glossary. The use of abstruse architectural terminology could have been softened with an explanatory diagram but isn't. The end result is confusion and frustration rather then enlightenment.
I am annoyed by this book, as there is a much better book within it. Clearly the publishers had little faith in the work otherwise they would have printed it on better quality paper. As it is, within ten years this book will look older than the marbles themselves.