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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 22 March 2014
This book is a thorough and well researched story of the archaeology and history of the Mediterranean peoples. I have not encountered any book before that covered such a wide geographical sweep in so much detail. Despite the academic thoroughness the narrative is so well written that this book is enjoyable as well as educational. It was recommended to me and I am happy to pass on the recommendation. I would expect it to suit both serious students of the region and those with a more general interest in the subject.
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on 20 November 2013
This book finishes where the others start. This is about the human and physical geography of Mediterranean before the upstarts like the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans arrived and developed their civilisations.

It's a very detailed hefty tome from an author with a world-class academic background but with a very readable style. I'm finding it in the "I could not put it down" class. It's worth the full bookshop price. At Amazon's, it's a snip.
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on 18 March 2014
Having read over the years many academic studies from archeology and more recent works on anthropology I was immediately impressed by Cyprian Broodbank's account of early human appearances in small settlements along north and south shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is arranged well and relies on the evidence in the ground left by these peoples as they slowly developed from scanners to gatherers to hunters. Each account it is fully documented by sources, sufficient to satisfy academic scholars and the passing interested reader - tools, diets, and culture - from modern science diagnostic techniques.
It is written well. As an academic scholar in a different field, I can recommend it as of a high literate standard.
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on 16 February 2015
A very impressive book that makes you wish there were more like it on other topics: it is detailed, accessible, beautifully illustrated and bound and gives the reader the rare feeling of being informed to the very depth of the current knowledge on a topic.
However, I can only give 3 stars, because the book seriously lacks in quality of language. It is not the archeological terms which go unexplained (e.g. horizon, focus, stratum etc.) since they are self-evident enough for a layman, like me, to catch on, but rather the overall jargon which is quite tedious for the non-expert reader. The sentences are long and convoluted, which I assume is the standard in academic publications and therefore the acquired style of the author. But it is, in my opinion, not necessary as many examples of well written archeological publications illustrate. What really puts me off a little is the use of vocabulary that seems artificially high-brow and entirely unnecessary. The pretentiousness of the language is underlined by the repeated wrong use of the expression "... begs the question”. The author uses it in the colloquial sense, which would be fine if the rest of his language would be on the same level, but like this it leaves the feeling that the complicated language is used as device to add superficial gravity to the account, like a pose the author strikes but is not able to carry. It also points towards a serious lack of language editing on part of the publisher.
Anyway, I still recommend the book, also for casual reading. The subject is fascinating and the presentation beautiful. Just don’t expect it to be light reading.
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on 22 November 2015
An excellent synthesis of the geological, archaeological and historical features of the changing Mediterranean. Anyone with a real interest in the people and countries should read this excellent and beautifully written account
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on 5 December 2013
An outstanding survey of the Mediterranean, the area, its formation, its history in a lively, readable and uptodate text. Thoroughly recommended
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on 20 February 2015
This is a weighty volume to carry around, with an abundance of photos and illustrations: erudite but rather wordy - more for delving into on parts of the Mediterranean than a steady read. The pre-history is covered expertly and exhaustively but it might have worked better in two volumes.
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on 28 June 2016
I'm sure this is a very worthy and excellent academic study but the prose style is turgid and so long winded that all the time I'm reading it I'm just thinking 'please, please get to the point'. Disappointing. Obviously not the right book for me.
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on 2 March 2014
A significant volume but with a good number of photos. A very good study of a wide and big topic but presented in a very readable style. Serves well as a reference book but also something that can be enjoyed from cover to cover.
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on 26 April 2016
This a book to read slowly one chapter at a time. Only then can u engage with and appreciate the level of detail and overall breadth of this excellent and innovative book.
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