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It's All Greek to Me
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It's All Greek to Me

3.57  ·  Rating Details  ·  122 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews

Why is ancient Greece important? Because, quite simply, if we want to understand the modern Western world, we need to look back to the Greeks. Consider the way we think about ethics, about the nature of beauty and truth, about our place in the universe, about our mortality. All this we have learned from the ancient Greeks. They molded the basic disciplines and genres in wh

Hardcover, 254 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Short Books (first published October 2nd 2008)
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James Williams
Nov 11, 2010 James Williams rated it it was ok
This book was incredibly disappointing.

I'd hoped to get an overview of ancient Greek thought, politics, philosophy, and art and then a linking between these facets of antiquity and the world today. For example, I'd hoped for the journey that political thought took from Athenian democracy to the modern systems of democracy practiced in the world.

This book doesn't deliver that. Don't get me wrong: it *does* describe Athenian democracy (for example). And it does point out that an Athenian wouldn'
Mar 15, 2010 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this "layman's guide" to many (if not most) things Greek. Charlotte Higgins walks the reader through the Iliad and the Odyssey; the ins and outs of Sparta; Greek architecture (which brought back memories of Mr. Tippery's World History class sophomore year - I had those column styles down pat!); mythology; and the philosophers. And that's just some of the information that is packed into this gem of a book. There's also a timeline, a map, and a Who's Who of Greeks (actual and mythol ...more
Jul 27, 2014 Tracy rated it really liked it
It's important to approach this book for what it is - and for that, I'll quote the author who describes it as "a bluffer's guide, a primer that will give you a helping hand around Greek democracy of the Persian Wars or the Parthenon...a book of enthusiasms and pleasures...if the mighty roll call of Greek writers...can seem daunting or inaccessible, I hope to help you to unlock some of their richness and discover (them) afresh."

I will readily admit that my exposure to Greek history and the classi
Hannah Brown
Sep 21, 2015 Hannah Brown rated it really liked it
With everything from Achilles’ heel to Pythagoras’ theorem; from Oedipus and his complex to Margaret Thatcher and Thucydides, this book aims to unlock the richness of the Greek world and show just how profoundly it has informed our own. – From reverse of book

Since a young age, I’ve had an interest in the Ancient Greeks (specifically their myths and gods). Last year, I started taking Classical Civilisations, and it satisfied most of my Grecian knowledge… but when I saw this book in the college l
Guy Baumber
Dec 16, 2014 Guy Baumber rated it really liked it
this book was great in being a primer for ancient Greek culture. the book focuses heavily on the great figures of the time from Homer to Plato. It was fascinating to learn about the stories in the illiad and the influence of such works on modern society. Unfortunately in my opinion the book falls short in providing a strong link from the works to the effect on modern day society. Obviously some of the links were great such as the Vietnam War and the rise of Athenian democracy. Others such as the ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Nadja rated it liked it
A friend of mine is seizing the opportunity of studying abroad and visits a school in London next year. One of her classes will be Classics and this is one of her holiday reads. And I am me, so I read it, too.

This book, easy to read and almost coloquially written, gives a good over view of the subject as I percieved it. It tackles Greek philosophy, politics, history and literature.
I have to say, already having some knowledge about Ancient Greece by reading multiple greek plays and poems as well
Carey Combe
Jul 05, 2013 Carey Combe rated it really liked it
For anyone anywhere who has an interest in Ancient Greece, this accessible, clear, fascinating, easily readable book is a must read.
May 28, 2013 Emmett rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Serves as a purposeful guide/map to Ancient Greek history and mythology, blending them together startlingly coherently. Rather than opting for a chronological approach, settling on chapters by themes of interest (e.g. love, war, foreigners) was something I found refreshing and focused. Expect the Iliad and Odyssey quoted throughout; one is initiated into this volume by an apology (Gk. apologia) of the Homeric epics. Main themes were very expansive and comprehensive: wars and women, love and deat ...more
Nov 04, 2015 Yeemay rated it really liked it
I read this after an intense 6 month Greek language course and exam and wished I had read it as prelude to the course. Despite the throw-away-title, it really is inspirational. The examination of Homer is short but enough to make you head for the text, which I did recently after a gap of some 40 years. Even better than the first time. The introduction to the the writers, historians and culture is essential reading. Knowledgeable yet entertaining.
Apr 21, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, history
This was a very basic overview of Ancient Greece. A bit repetitive at times, it's almost like the chapters were written independently of one another and then compiled into a book. It reads more like a thank-you letter to Ancient Greece than a scholarly work, though there is enough scholarship to keep your interested. It's a good first book to launch you into a deeper study of the subject matter.
Oct 15, 2015 Reuel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Light overview of Greek history and culture,covering Homer,Greek tragedies, history and historians, politics, philosophy (a little), science,the role of women(limited) and slaves, war, etc. Suitable introduction or review for a traveler.
Dec 31, 2012 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first ran across this book a few years ago in, appropriately, the book store of the British Museum. While I didn’t buy it then I did pick it up a few years later in Philadelphia when Borders was going out of business. This is a highly readable introduction to the influence of ancient Greek culture on our own world. It is, as the author intends, a “bluffer’s guide” to all things Greek. There is just enough here to whet your appetite for a more serious and prolonged encounter with Homer, Aeschyl ...more
Claire Cousineau
Feb 12, 2016 Claire Cousineau rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: athens
This book was one I had to read for school. I didn't enjoy reading it at all, it was similar to a text book.
A wonderful little book on the value of the Greek classics, marred only by occasional errors (mostly in language, for example, saying that "gnothi seauton" was glossed as "tecum nosce" in Latin for "The Matrix" - actually "temet nosce," of course). But don't let this stop you from buying the book - it truly is a little gem!
Aug 20, 2011 Angela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A breezy overview of Ancient Greek history/culture with a slight British and feminist bias. Overall, a good introduction to the topic, though those with some classics and mythologies under their belts will likely find little new here. I found the author's tendency to revisit some subjects many times to be tedious at points.
Nov 17, 2010 Mmiller400m rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A basic intro study of all that is Greek. It really does have it all including the Greek alphabet as an addendum. I always loved reading Homer in high school and thrilled with everyone else at the movie 300, so it was nice to bring it all together and see how this time in history has affected us.
May 03, 2012 Marko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice and easy read. I'm definitely going to read parts of it again. As the author writes, It is "a love letter to the act of thinking about ancient Grece". This book might just have inspired me enough to start to read Homer...
Jun 14, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good at describing Ancient Greece for someone who may not understand or know anything about the history and how it effects us today. I also love the Greek alphabet in the references section of the book.
Tracey Sinclair
Jan 21, 2013 Tracey Sinclair rated it really liked it
Entertaining and easy to read look at the classics -
All sorts of fascinating trivia that will probably do me no good unless I were on Jeopardy, but I enjoy learning all the same.
Apr 07, 2015 Ruiz1974ad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This just goes too show the kind of book you can find at the local thrift store.
May 28, 2013 Michelle rated it really liked it
very interesting! makes me want to break out my copy of the Iliad and read Thucydides
Tracey Sinclair
Jan 23, 2013 Tracey Sinclair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lively and entertaining, a great introduction to the subject.
Nov 20, 2009 Diarmid rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Book about ancient Greece, especially their literature.
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ marked it as to-read
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Carey Combe
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