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The Way of Herodotus: Travels with the Man Who Invented History

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  175 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Intrepid travel historian Justin Marozzi retraces the footsteps of Herodotus through the Mediterranean and Middle East, examining Herodotus's 2,500-year-old observations about the cultures and places he visited and finding echoes of his legacy reverberating to this day. The Way of Herodotus is a lively yet thought-provoking excursion into the world of Herodotus, with the m ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Da Capo Press (first published October 2nd 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lyn Elliott
I finished reading this not long after Ryszard Kapuściński’s older book with a very similar title (see my review here). Both are classified as travel writing, both connect places with episodes and ideas from the ancient Greek writer and traveler, Herodotus’.

Both men are described as historians, journalists and travelers. Kapuściński spent his working life as a journalist, working mostly in Africa, and Marozzi’s website (http://www.justinmarozzi.com/about/) says he has travelled extensively in t
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James
Jul 20, 2011 James rated it it was ok
Not a great travel book, which is too bad because I was excited to read this one. While it's ostensibly about the author retracing Herodotus' journeys and visiting the places that he did, there's actually very little travel writing. Way too much of the book is just a rehash of The Histories, and while interesting, it just feels like padding. The only really interesting section was when the author visited Patrick Leigh Fermor, but even that section involved recounting Leigh Fermor's own books. I ...more
Pat
Aug 30, 2009 Pat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting something different from this book - something more on the lines of Scott Huler's No Man's Lands, where he traced the locations in the Odyssey around the current-day Mediterranean. Marozzi uses Herodotus as a starting point for trips to places included in Herodotus' work, but there's less emphasis on Herodotus and more on the modern day. I learned too much about the author's view of Baghdad in 2004, in the middle of the Iraqi insurgency, than I did about what Herodotus wrote abou ...more
Vera Marie
Feb 04, 2011 Vera Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed The Way of Herodotus, and thought it was a good introduction to Herodotus' Histories, since I have never read them in the entirety.
The same book was issued in Britain as The Man Who Invented History: Travels With Herodotus.
I liked [author Justin Marozzi]'s attempt to follow in Herodotus' philosophical footsteps, even when he did not follow exactly in his geographical footsteps. The only part I felt was a bit jarring was a chapter on Iraq that became an anti-American tirade. Given Herod
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Tammy
Dec 28, 2010 Tammy rated it really liked it
Herodotus is a person I have heard of before (“The Father of History”), but have never actually read his work. After enjoying “The Way of Herodotus,” I feel as if I now know the man, Herodotus, and the highlights of his works. As author Justin Marozzi follows the path of Herodotus’ travels to Egypt, Greece, Turkey and other lands, the reader has a chance to come to know these places both as they were in Herodotus’ time and as they are now.

I generally don’t enjoy travel writing, but this was a m
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Luciana Cavallaro
I picked up this book to read for research purposes as I had read Herodotus' Histories. This is a wonderful compendium to the Histories and pays due homage to the first travel and history writer.

I am fan of Herodotus and thought the treatment by his predecessors and scholars was unfair. Justin Marozzi's does well to dismiss the antagonist views with his unique perspective and in following in Herodotus' steps. He also highlights the uniqueness of Herodotus' storytelling and points out many factua
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Nathan
Nov 12, 2009 Nathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As a modern travelogue and observation of the various cultures Marozzi encounters on his journey, this is a light, entertaining read. Not so entertaining is Marozzi's handling of Herodotus himself. Admittedly working with a daunting dearth of information, Marozzi settles for making far too much of Herodotus' seamier side, cackling on for pages over every innuendo and double entendre, chuckling over every Herodotean editorial.
Useful mainly as an introduction to the actual text of Herodotus, and t
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Steven Allen
I had a very hard time finishing this book. The topic is interesting but the author's writing is very dry with little to no humor. I did not care for the author's style of writing, but the locations were beautifully described and well researched.
Lisa
Feb 17, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Favorite book so far this year. Can't report more at the moment due to there is a cat sitting on my left arm, making computing difficult.
Colleen Clark
Sep 19, 2011 Colleen Clark rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, history
I bought this book 4 years ago and took it with me on an extended trip to Turkey this spring. I enjoyed reading it on the road, although I was not near most of the places Marozzi traveled to with Herodotus.
He starts first in Cambridge, England with a discursive narrative about his own education and how he came to study history at all and came to Herodotus indirectly that way. Herodutus he writes. "The thing about Herodotus, and it was years before I discovered this, he doesn't really feature on
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Simon
Mar 14, 2011 Simon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An interesting tour around the eastern Mediterranean by an historian retracing the steps of Herodotus.
The author has a few annoying habits, including a rather old-fashioned attitude to women, who tend to be described and judged first and foremost in terms of their attractiveness regardless of their qualifications or what they have to say. He also indulges himself in both florid prose and pointless imaginings, trying to describe scenes of Herodotus' private life about which he can't possibly kno
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Susan
Jan 13, 2016 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has very little to do with Herodotus and a lot about travel writing and whether history plus travel writing equals truth. Once I figured that out, the book was okay, although I found some of the author's rabbit trails more interesting than others. I particularly appreciated the introduction to Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, who is described as a writer and and Second World War Hero. I am looking forward to reading his books. I enjoyed the section on Greece the most. perhaps because it was a ...more
Sarah
Aug 14, 2009 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just started this, I did a little Herodotus at school but he always struck me as being a bit, shall we say, fantastical, in his 'history', but to discover he was meticulous in his research and often right in his pronouncements on customs and origins of ancient cultures is very interesting. Whether this book will provide good context or skim a little over the surface remains to be seen, and Marozzi loves his purple prose a little too much for my liking, but its helping while away the time on my c ...more
Chris
Jan 04, 2016 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I must admit that I found this book hard going and left it for a while to read a Philippa Gregory for light relief. It did make Herodotus seem an interesting man worth knowing more about and some of the anecdotes, particularly the ones taken from Herodotus's 'Histories' made a good read. However this was off set by other parts that I found slow and rather tedious. Altogether the book was too disjointed and the theme of following Herodotus's travels failed to hold the various parts together for m ...more
joyce
Sep 09, 2012 joyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, travel
This travelogue introduces the reader to both history and the recording of travels. Although there has been much discussion as to the veracity of Herodotus' writings, if you allow yourself to be drawn into the adventure, you will be inspired to continue to search history for other observations that will capture your fancy. Somehow I feel that Robert Byron must have read Herodotus before writing "The Road to Oxiana." Be aware, this is not a translation of Herodotus, but a journey attempting to "w ...more
Nathan Cain
Feb 04, 2014 Nathan Cain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author looks at some of the themes of Herodotus through the modern day context in Egypt, Greece and Turkey. He travels to some of the key locations mentioned in the Histories meeting various characters that have their own take on Herodotus. This is an accessible and in some parts humorous approach/introduction to the original text. Aspects of the book point to an author who was possibly going through a bit if a mid life crisis though.
Tom
Feb 17, 2009 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-history, travel
A great book! Chatty, informative, fun, and rewarding just like Herodotus. A friend in Grad School had the classic question for his Oral Comps for the PhD. Which do you prefer, Herodotus or Thucydides as a historian? He choose Herodotus, even though his adviser did not like it. Tim still got his Phud. (Tim was also famous for not being able to go into Canada because of his pro IRA bumper stickers)

Nathan
Jan 25, 2011 Nathan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I got bored. I thought it would be more about history and less about modern travel -- my fault more than the author's. What is his fault, though, is how much this guy LOVES Herodotus. I came into the book liking him, too, and having had a rewarding experience reading The Histories, but Marozzi almost inspired a Herodotus backlash in me by so relentlessly propagandizing the man.
Sherwin
Sep 01, 2012 Sherwin rated it liked it
A rousing tale of travelling alongside the man who invented history. Full its fair share of digressions and debauchery, Marozzi manages to emulate Herodotus in every way possible. You feel the emotional highs and lows of his journey through the Mediterranean; the spirit of Herodotus watches over you as you read.

If you weren't on Team Herodotus, you will be after reading this book.
Janis
Aug 17, 2012 Janis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have the feeling that both Herodotus and author Marozzi would make excellent traveling companions – knowledgeable, tolerant, and highly curious. I enjoyed retracing Herodotus’ journeys, learned quite a lot about past and present-day issues and cultures, and was sorry when this book came to an end!
Angel
Aug 20, 2010 Angel rated it did not like it
The premise behind this book seemed pretty good at the time: writer tracing the steps of Herodotus. I thought it could not fail. However, the text is extremely dry, full of a lot of digressions (and I don't mean that in a good way), and overall, the book failed to hold my interest after two chapters or so. If you want the Herodotus experience, just go back and read Herodotus.
Gwynneth
Trite statement: I liked this book. It's an offbeat approach to travel writing that also combines an educational bent with some terrific wordsmithing.

However, if you don't have much of a classical background, you might want to consider passing on it.
Dan
Mar 30, 2009 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chatty but erudite guide to the world of the ancient Greek historian, who remains surprisingly topical. Marozzi is a charming companion, never bogs down in too much detail while sharing his enthusiasms.
Nazila Khalkhali
It's neither my favorite nor what I expected. the only point I like is what author wrote about Herodotus as an anthropologist and I see his book is about the traditions and culture of people and nations not just about their wars and kings.
John
I read this as a modern-day "historical footsteps" adventure, which didn't work out as well as I'd hoped; the book is loaded with references to and examples of Herodotus' writings, which didn't hold my interest. I'd certainly recommend the book for those interested in The Classical World.
False Millennium
The author follows in the footsteps of the Father of History: Herodotus. A wonderful read. I couldn't put it down and read it in one day. Time flew. A lovely chapter on Patrick Leigh Fermor. A great book for historians and for the lovers of classic Greek history.
Becky
Jun 10, 2009 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The way I like my travel books: witty, bawdy, and informative. I learned everything I'll ever need to know about Herodotus, WHILE feeling like I was traveling through the Middle East. Lovely.
Jason Fischer
Rambling hero-worship, many of the topics only connected with the subject matter by drawing the longest of bows. Needed more robots.
Larry
Feb 15, 2010 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating story of the "man who invented history" travelogue of the middle east in 450bc he participated in the Battle of Marathon. He wrote his "Histories"
Di
A brilliant way of reading of Herodotus. Justin Marozzi makes this history entirely readable and engaging.
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[Excerpt from http://www.justinmarozzi.com/about/]

Justin is a travel writer, historian, journalist and political risk and security consultant. He has travelled extensively in the Middle East and Muslim world and in recent years has worked in conflict and post-conflict environments such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur. He graduated from Cambridge with a Starred Double First in History in 1993, befo
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