4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Bit In Between,
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This review is from: From Democrats to Kings: The Downfall of Athens to the Epic Rise of Alexander the Great (Paperback)
Dr Michael Scott has identified that if there are two major events in Greek history then the Peloponnesian War and the rise of Macedon are top candidates. Like opposing poles they have attracted a lot of particles (books in this case), but between these twin lighthouses is a darker land. Into this period this book shines its light. It is a short period, covered by the life of one notable Athenian - Isocrates - but including everything from extreme democracy to saviour kings.
In an effort to jolly up the story and prevent it becoming the exclusive domain of dreadful Classics-snoots Dr Scott attempts, not always effectively, to link the events then with more modern episodes including (inevitably) the Bush years. Additionally, he adopts a strategy that will infuriate old hands but be blessed by readers new to the period. Academician Druon identified in "Les Rois Maudits" that nearly every male was a Charles, a Louis or a Philippe. Spotting the same type of problem Dr Scott keeps reminding us who are characters are with a short hand (so Xenophon starts out repeatedly as a rich young Athenian, before becoming linked to the Ten thousand). This reminds me of The Iliad where Nestor is usually accompanied by the description "King of sandy Pylos" or "The Gerenian Charioteer" in an effort to lift his name above that of the spear-carriers or spare sons of minor kings.
This style can be annoying but it is an excellent story full of notable characters. It was also very useful to view the period in its own right, rather than the space between two "stations".