The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Ancient Games
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The Naked Olympics: The True Story of the Ancient Games

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  152 ratings  ·  18 reviews
A history of the original Olympic games depicts the events of the first competitions more than 1,200 years ago, during which tens of thousands of sweltering-hot spectators watched nude athletes participate in such events as hoplitodromia, a full-armor sprint, and the pankration, a no-holds-barred lethal brawl. Original. 28,000 first printing.
Paperback, 214 pages
Published June 8th 2004 by Random House Trade
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This is my third read by the author and the first one where historical aspect dominates the book. Usually it's a balance between history and a travelogue. So this one is somewhat less humorous, but nevertheless interesting, well written and informative. Olympic games back in the day certainly were not what we're used to now, a wholly different (and very naked) kind of spectacle is presented here. Once again the author makes history come alive with his wit, erudition and attention to detail. This...more
Jerry Smith
Very enjoyable, easy read. Certainly not for you if you are looking for serious scholarly information, but that isn't the intent of this book. It sets out to explain what the ancient games were really like, especially for those attending. TP also covers the competitors, the nature of the competitions themselves, the judges and the whole structure of the 5 day festival that was the Olympic games.

I have been to Olympia, and it remains one of the most atmospheric places I have ever visited. Much of...more
Those who think history is boring might want to try Tony Perrottet – especially his fascinating and entertaining account of the ancient Greek Olympics. He explores the original Olympics as experienced by athletes and spectators, from the moment purple-clad heralds announced the sacred games, to ancient workout routines and diet plans, the details of the often-brutal contests, the wild festivities, and the clean-up afterwards. I learned a lot and had fun all along the way!
Clark Knowles
Fantastic book. For anyone who follows the Olympics, this is a must read. The ancient Olympics ran for 1200 years--mind boggling, really. Tony Perrottet reveals the bloody, drunken, naked religious and athletic festival in all its glory. It sounds like a cliche, but he really does allow the reader to "feel like they are there."
A good historical reference for many of the interesting Olympic traditions that have come about because of the ancient games in Greece. Although the author can be quite dry and boring at times, there are numerous adequate references and cited material for many of the now similar Olympic events that took place in ancient Greece. Not a very stimulating or exciting read but one that is helpful to understanding the Olympic traditions.
I would give this book a 3.5 or 4. Perrottet covers many aspects of the original Olympics despite the difficulty of finding primary sources. Good historical overview.
A brisk review of the history of the ancient Greek Olympic games. I was happy to see this author's appreciation of Courtesans and Fishcakes.
Vicki Cline
This is a reconstruction of what the Greek games at Olympia must have been like. Perrottet describes events in chronological order, starting with the arrival of the athletes at the nearby town of Elis, through the day-by-day athletic events, with asides about training, evening debauchery, and cheating, among others. I was amazed at the large amount of detail available from ancient sources. Also included are many illustrations of various events found inside Greek drinking cups. The only lack was...more
Excellent "you are there" type of book that takes you on a tour of what the old games must have been like. We are shown a religious festival filled with blood and gore, and also a celebration filled with wild debauchery. The winners were immortalized in history, the losers often sank into a deep depression. If you think you might read or if you have read Steven Saylor's _The Seven Wonders_, this is a marvelous book to read before/after in order to get further background on the games and Phidias’...more
Really interesting description of the ancient Olympics... the angle is terrific: Here's what it's like for the athletes and fans heading into and during the games at Olympia. This book dispells many myths surrounding the Olympics -- and enlightens us that the glory of sport was just as overbearing as it is today (for all the good and bad -- corruption, greed, sex, etc. -- it just is what it is, and what it ain't, that's all).
A lighthearted popular history of the original Olympic Games that should appeal mainly to armchair enthusiasts of Greek history. While impressive scholarship or exhaustive research is not the order of the day, there is enough to satisfy - and entertain - the casual reader.
Jan 02, 2008 Paige rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history buffs
Shelves: non-fiction
I wasn't sure how to rate this. At first I liked it, as it was very informative. But I guess it got a little graphic for me, and it later became a little uncomfortable for me to read... maybe I just wasn't ready to know THAT much about the ancient games! ;)
A bit repetitive at times, but for a nonfiction book this was pretty good. I actually enjoyed the time I spent reading it and it was the perfect mix between story and fact. Would recommend, even though I doubt I will ever read it again.
Tony Perrottet has a great ability to describe ancient life in a vivid and entertaining manner. I really liked this book!
Very interesting facts about the ancient Olympics. They weren't like I really thought at all. Well worth reading.
A friend got me a copy of this book signed by the author and inscribed to me - it's pretty cool.
An interesting book about the early Olympics in Greece. More on
Some interesting tidbits about the Ancient Olympics, a little dry in parts.
Jessica Aginighan
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