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In Search of the Trojan War

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  534 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
Tales of Troy & its heroes--Achilles, Hector, Paris & the legendary beauty Helen--have fired the imagination for 3000 years. With In Search of the Trojan War, Michael Wood brings to life the legend & lore of the Heroic Age in an archeological adventure that sifts thru the myths & speculation to provide a fresh view of the riches & the reality of ancient ...more
Paperback, 284 pages
Published 1996 by Penguin Books Ltd./British Broadcasting Corp. (NYC/London) (first published January 1st 1985)
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Spiralling down, discussing in turn the ongoing interest in Troy, the archaeologists who worked the sire (view spoiler), their discoveries, the evidence from Homer, our understanding of the world of Mycenaean Greece, then the documents surviving from the Hittite (view spoiler)archives, I felt as though a clear and final single answer was before us when the text turned, and like a bird on a t ...more
Adam Whitehead
May 13, 2017 Adam Whitehead rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Trojan War holds a grip on the imagination like few other events in mythology. Part of the modern interest in the myth is due to the startling confirmation over the past century that Troy was a real place, located exactly where the legend puts it, with even minor details of topography from Homer's text backed up by archaeological evidence. This makes Troy a fascinating subject to discuss, but also a dangerous one: it's too easy to let the imagination run riot and conclude that perhaps the le ...more
James F
Feb 15, 2016 James F rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More on the Trojan War. . . This was written in conjunction with a PBS Television series, which probably influenced the way it was organized. It takes a historical approach, beginning with Heinrich Schliemann's excavation of Hissarlik, then going on to the excavations at Mycenae and the other Bronze Age sites in Greece, to the excavation of Knossos, and ultimately to the Linear B tablets and the Hittite archives. It was actually fairly interesting. The author's conclusions: the question is still ...more
The Trojans and Achilles and the great ancient war always seemed to be just a myth, as first told by a blind poet. But Michael Wood brings the reality to life with the exhaustive research on the actual historical city of Troy, brought to ashes by the revengeful Greeks.

The author keeps the reader involved with descriptions of the archeological digs and even illustrating how the city of Troy was closer to the sea thousands of years ago. The Bronze Age comes to life here and even includes the re-di
Nick Wellings
Oct 21, 2013 Nick Wellings rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deeply informative and entertaining. Wood's tone is brisk. Unsure if any of his conclusions are recognised or firm or if we can put credence in any of them, but Wood convinced me that Troy VI was 'Heroic' or mythic Troy. I knocked one star off because a timeline was absent and would have helped, and some more maps and diagrams (eg of the site, it's locale and conjectured extent, estimates of coastline etc) would have been nice. A fun read.
Mark Flowers
Apr 26, 2011 Mark Flowers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This books is heavily weighed down by conjecture, but incredibly endearing conjecture. Also, no matter how many guesses Wood makes, he always comes back to reality to point out how far the facts actually take us. Just an extraordinary look at the Greek Bronze Age, which makes me want to delve even deeper.
Ryan Patrick
Despite (or perhaps because of) being written by a non-expert, this is definitely the best book on the Trojan War out there. Wood is willing to do a little speculation in order to provide a possible picture of this historical event, rather than simply offering up all the tidbits of evidence and leaving it to the reader to make sense of it all. Archaeologists seem to have a knack for seeing buildings in a pile of rocks, but they are pretty bad at helping non-archaeologists to see those buildings ...more
Jun 08, 2017 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful companion to the documentary series I've watched several times. Makes for great material to flip through.
Aug 26, 2014 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Forever my favorite historian, Michal Wood is at least partially responsible for my love of travel and fascination with discovering all things ancient.

I saw the documentary before reading this book, and was utterly enraptured - even today, it remains one of the most thorough and extensive looks at the real history of the Trojan War.

Michael Wood takes the reader (or the watcher) on an exciting journey, touching upon the history of the myth, the years of archaeological excavation, and the many the
Like a detective story, but with a little too much detail. I really didn’t need all the information on the various types of early Greek writing. I don’t think this was intended for an academic audience--I assume it was a tie in to the TV show--so the audience here is the general public. More about the legends and characters would have been better. But, his enthusiasm is apparent and he sweeps you along with him. Unfortunately, at least when this was written, we don’t seem anywhere closer to solv ...more
Sep 11, 2011 Karl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from KQED the local PBS station in San Francisco after donating for the year, during the pledge break that was featuring Michael Woods show (moving picture show) about the archeology of Hisarlik and the history of the ancient Greeks.

It is delightfully detailed and tells of ancient peoples including the Trojans, the Achaeans, the Hittites, the Sea Peoples, and more. The photo-journalism of the archaeological site is unmatched anywhere else.
Dec 05, 2016 Randal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Thorough. Painstaking even. Dull, dull, dull. A more accurate title would be "In Search of Mycenaen Pottery, from Greece to Asia Minor." Might have hurt sales.
Four stars (subtract one for being a bit dated) if you want a textbook on the archaeology behind Troy & the Mycenaen culture. Much guessing, although generally with references back to where the guesses came from.
Two stars if you want a light nonfiction read.
Apr 02, 2010 Old-Barbarossa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good.
A Hx of archaeology as well as a search for Troy.
Background of the Eastern Med in the Bronze Age well covered. Good ref to early sources. Any specualtion well backed up and openly noted as speculation.
Also looks at how the myth may have evolved as well as the physical evidence to back up any theory.
Only downside for me was a lack of illustrations (items being ref'd but never shown...interweb image searches filled the gaps) and a fairly poor map.
Amarissa Cale
Nov 16, 2012 Amarissa Cale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of the most in-depth, accurate and fascinating books I have read yet concerning the Trojan War. Michael Wood goes to great lengths to discover the facts ... we do not need to know more of the legend and fiction that surrounding the Trojan War, we need the truth,and this is exactly what Michael Wood achieves in this riveting and informative book. Highly recommended!I have read this book four or five times, and it is like a new book every time.
Aug 06, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book tries to answer the question, "Was there really a Trojan War?" with a yes. Wood does a convincing job of it. There are still some scholars who question where Troy is; but on the whole, most believe we've found it and something devastated the city around the right time. Not telling any need to read it!
Erik Graff
Feb 19, 2010 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Homer fans
Recommended to Erik by: Jim DeVoto
Shelves: history
Like his In the Footsteps of Alexander, this book, a combination of archaeological history and history of legend, was written to accompany a television documentary. Like it, both book and documentary are complementary and well-worth watching. Even if one already knows the material Wood discusses, the imagery in both the book and the series is worthy of attention.
Andreas Michaelides
I am Greek and I love my mythology and history so I will ready anything that has valid arguments about it and also I am always interested to see how non Greek people see my history and heritage. Interesting book, did not agree with some of the facts but that doesn’t mean I am right or wrong. Good book.
Dec 15, 2012 Gemma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-uni
It completely changes your opinion on whether the Trojan war really happened or not. When I first got this book I was unsure whether I would be able to finish it but I did because it was really interesting ... the pictures definitely helped.
Jun 17, 2009 Patrice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was assigned this book to read for a course on the Trojan War. It's well written and packed with information. There is also an accompanying dvd that is wonderful. I have not finished the book but I will go back to it when I can. It's worth it.
Jul 09, 2012 Lilly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was obsessed with this mini-series when I saw it on TV when I was visiting my grandparents in Florida in 1986. It took me YEARS to find this book and I love it with a passion bordering on insanity. Hahaheehee!
Hilarie Oliver
Jun 20, 2012 Hilarie Oliver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the companion to his documentary of the same name. Michael Wood makes learning history fascinating and addictive. I've seen almost all of his doc's and am enriched. I draw upon them often, even while watching the news!
Jul 03, 2012 Bookworm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book taught me just how much I *didn't* know about archaeology at Troy. I also loved getting the context of archaeological discoveries in areas connected with the Trojan War story/myth. Now to find out what's been discovered since the updated chapter...
Kate Stout
Jan 20, 2016 Kate Stout rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Obviously, this is now "old" research as it was written over 30 years ago. However it does do a good job of describing the key archeologists who dug up the site of Troy, and how various archeological insights show the nature of kings and countries in this time frame. Now looking for related books.
Zara Khan
Dec 09, 2012 Zara Khan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
its the best book i have ever has battle,romance,emotions everything.i like Achilles he is the breavest ogf greeks........
Spencer Clevenger
While the details are not very insightful, Mr. Wood does a lot to tell what is known in a way that was very accessible.
Sep 12, 2007 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The history of what we know about the Trojan War. Very detailed.
Kerry Hennigan
Aug 02, 2011 Kerry Hennigan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael Wood is my favourite populariser of historical subjects. This one got me started on collecting his books and the DVDs of his TV programs.
Jan 11, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: Read it for a class
Good overview of the topic and mostly interesting. He sometimes gets a bit carried away with his speculations though.
Great book and the documentary series that went with it from the 1980s is still a great resource for teaching.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover 4 17 Apr 19, 2015 09:10AM  
  • The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War
  • Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore
  • The Trojan War: A New History
  • Homer's Daughter
  • Women's Life in Greece and Rome: A Source Book in Translation
  • Greek Art and Archaeology
  • The First Century: Emperors, Gods and Everyman
  • Terry Jones' Barbarians
  • The Fall of Troy
  • The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found
  • The History of Rome, Books XXXI-XLV: Rome and the Mediterranean
  • The Complete Pompeii
  • Women in the Classical World: Image and Text
  • People of the Earth: An Introduction to World Prehistory
  • Chronicle of the Roman Republic: The Rulers of Ancient Rome from Romulus to Augustus
  • The Hittites
  • The Return from Troy
  • Pompeii: The Living City
Librarian Note: There's more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Michael David Wood is an English historian & broadcaster. He's presented numerous tv documentary series. Library of Congress lists him as Michael Wood.

Wood was born in Moston, Manchester, & educated at Manchester Grammar School & Oriel College, Oxford. His specia
More about Michael Wood...

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