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on 19 July 2017
Good book. Small and easy to read.
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on 17 May 2015
Interesting approach to Ancient Greek history through the stories of 11 cities. I found the writer's style rather pedantic and over fussy with lots of asides and unnecessary references in parenthesis. Maps could have been easier to read.
One person found this helpful
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on 9 August 2014
A bit hard going but ideal as an introduction if interested in ancient Greece.
One person found this helpful
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 12 December 2011
I got this book a while ago. I read it, liked it, adn have turned to it again as a starting point (but not a reference) when wanting to know more about one of the cities that it mentions. This book is however somewhat hard to rate.

I found the concept great and rather original: summarize the history of Greece (about twlve centuties of it) through the presentation and history of 11 cities (not all of which can be termed as "greek"). However, the execution was rather problematic and the author, having been limited to less than 200 pages, was always going to face a major problem when dealing with so much content in so little space.

To some, this book might seem to be too little and sometimes superficial because a whole book (or several, bearing in mind what Cartledge himself has done for Sparta) could probably have been written for each city. For others, this might be too much, not because of the size, but because the author mixes up a high level summary with quite a lot of details and some explanations that you might not expect to find in such a small book. This problem has, to some extent, already been alluded to by another reviewer when mentioning that the target audience seemed to be undefined. I am not quite sure about that because the book, given its size, clearly does not attempt to be comprehensive and, because it is very accessible, well written, easy to read and portable, clearly seems to have been targeted at the general reader.

If I am correct in my assumption, then it is worth four stars. I am, however, among the ones who would have wanted to learn more (much more!) on each of the cities and their specifics so I hesitated and almost rated it three stars. Having said that, the book does include a lot of useful information, despite it small size, such as explaining how Sparta could afford to (and had to, to a large extent) transform itself into a militaristic state permanently geared for war and how this was both its main strength and its main weakness.

A very interesting and easy read which I have been going through, once again, when going to work and during my luchtime. I hope that you will also enjoy it, despite its problems...
4 people found this helpful
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on 26 October 2012
A Very Short Introduction to Ancient Greece is just what it says it is: a very short introduction. I bought this book completely in the dark about who the ancient Greeks were or what they did, and this does shed some light and begin painting a picture, but due to word limits and other things, I found myself having to do external research many times just to figure out what on earth the author was referring to.

Very short introductions for topics as vast as Ancient Greece are generally a bad idea. If you can only find time to read on the bus/train and need a pocket sized book, go for this one. If you have more time to kick back and really learn, I would suggest you go and find a more detailed book. I want to be clear: I have no solid complaint; I knew what I was getting in for when I bought the book. I only have a surface interest in Greek history, but for others who want to learn more in-depth, then this short introduction is just a little too short!

The way the author approaches the history is by having a chapter on several major settlements. This is a unique method and the author should be applauded for his intuition, but it gets confusing as one chapter can talk about events that happened much later, and vice versa. Luckily there is a time line at the back for clarity.
9 people found this helpful
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on 18 December 2014
A good, if slightly parenthetical, read. Most interesting in its meanders!
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on 17 September 2017
Posting the review about halfway through the book. My reason for buying it was that my daughter is studying Ancient Greece at school & I wanted an introduction to help her with homework etc., I did not find the book useful for this purpose. The writing style is convoluted and difficult to read. The approach (covering the period by looking at cities) sounds original and interesting but in practice I do not think it works and a thematic approach would probably have been better. So, disappointing.
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on 28 January 2016
Very curious to star reading.
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on 13 August 2016
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on 21 December 2016
Excellent condition and value
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