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The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles

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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  982 ratings  ·  129 reviews

Enter a world where harpies torment mortals, the Argonaut Orpheus sings, the mighty god Zeus wages war on the Titans, and Prometheus steals fire. Author Padraic Colum weaves the tales of Jason and his Argonauts with classic Greek mythology to create this captivating epic about life, war, and astounding beings who lived in a time long past.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 22nd 2004 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published 1921)
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May͛a
*Rant coming up ahead*

Ever heard of Jason and the Argonauts? No? WHY. Basically, they were what people used to fangirl about centuries ago, instead of Kaz Brekker and the Dregs.

Summary

So this boy Jason shows up one day in his hometown and walks straight up to his evil uncle aka King Pelias and says 'hey uh, that throne belongs to me. Cuz you know, you kinda stole it from my dad.' LITERALLY.

I don't get how people had the guts to be so straightforward back then.

Anyway, Pelias is like hm okay b
...more
Scott
May 25, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-college
I started out really liking this book, but about a quarter of the way through it began to bore me to tears. I think that it was Twain who said something like, "Don't tell your readers that the lady is singing. Bring her on stage and let them hear her." Well, this book was all telling.

I want a GOOD Greek-mythilogical fantasy.
...more
Abigail
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Intermediate Greek Mythology Fans
One of five titles to be selected as a Newbery Honor Book in 1922, the year that the award was instituted, Padraic Colum's The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles reads like a children's version of Hesiod's Theogony . The tale of Jason and the Argonauts, who set out on a quest to Colchis - a kingdom located in the northern Black Sea area, in what is now the Republic of Georgia - hoping to obtain the fabled Golden Fleece and bring it back to Greece, the book also features nu ...more
Rachael
This is the first "real" book of myths I read as a child. It is a great introductory version of many of the classic Greek stories for kids. For adults, there are many, many better books out there. ...more
Jessica
Aug 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully well written introduction to Greek mythology for children. It’s a “Please, mom! Just one more chapter” book.
Natalie
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, newbery, 2019, mythology
Once upon a time there were two brothers. One was a family guy and the other was a douche-bag who wanted to kill his nephew.

The family guy was pretty sketch of his bro (rightly so) and sent his baby to live with a centaur. Jason and the centaur lived in a cave until he got a powerful need to see his daddy-o.

Jason meets an old woman with mad strength. He makes his way to the kingdom where he meets his d-bag uncle. The uncle wants to kill him but realizes, like a vicious twitter roast, all the p
...more
Slayermel
Mar 11, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoy's greek mythology
I really enjoy Mythology of all types, but I do have a certain weakness for Greek mythology, I’m not sure what it was that originally attracted me to it as a child but the Minotaur, the Labyrinth, Zeus and his lightning bolts, all that was absolutely fascinating to me.

This is the story of Jason who was supposed to be the king of Iolcus but his uncle Pelias had taken the thrown from Jason’s father Aeson. Aeson worried that his brother Pelias was going to do harm to his young son as he may view h
...more
Alessandro Duran
“The Golden Fleece, and the Heroes before Achilles,” follows the story of a young man named Jason who was given a mission by his evil uncle Aetes, to go, and retrieve the legendary Golden Fleece. Along his travels, his crew mates and other individuals told stories about all of the Greek heroes, heroines, and the creation of everything.
I would highly recommend this book to a friend because, it contains action, humor, interesting, and extraordinary events.
Tammie
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I actually started this a loooong time ago (easily 5 years) but found it a bit boring so I discontinued reading. I picked it up again after recently completing Edith Hamilton's compilation of myths - that helped a lot.

This book by Padraic Colum is supposedly meant for children / YA. Fair enough, as far as Greek mythologies go, they are filled with lusty and violent tales of gods and mortals, and these elements may not be suitable for young impressionable minds. However, even if you redact this,
...more
Sarah Holz
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m bumping this to perhaps a generous four because I found Padraic Colum’s bending of pre-Trojan classical myth into one unified story charming and Homeric. We forget these stories came down in multiple versions once upon a time and this is very much in the spirit of the original Greek storytellers we look back to so reverently.
Michael Fitzgerald
Lots of good stories. Sometimes it uses name variants that are less familiar.

Narrator OK, but not great - very dry.
Melissa
Jan 23, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery-books
I don't get how this was ever for children, even 100 years ago. It started out mildly interesting, but it quickly became too dense and hard to follow. ...more
Elizabeth

Padraic Colum, author of The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles, was born December 8, 1881, in County Longford, Ireland. In 1914, he and his wife, Mary, moved to the United States where he began writing children’s stories and books based on Irish folklore and mythology. In 1922, his retelling of Greek myths was recognized as a Newbery Honor Book. Padraic Colum later authored two more Newbery Honor books, The Voyagers: Being Legends and Romances of Atlantic Discovery in 1926
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Jo
This was a Newbery Honor book in 1922. It is written well and the stories are easy to get into. This would have been a great book to have during my mythology class in jr. high as well as in college. Next time I listen to 'Birdhouse In Your Soul' by They Might Be Giants, I will smile smugly knowing that I'm now a bit more knowledgeable about Jason and the Argonauts. ...more
Angie Lisle
I remember this book being read to me as a child and I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. The prose is quasi-archaic with thous and thees thrown into passive sentences that tell rather than show what happens. It makes for a dull read.

The myths aren't in chronological order even though they could be sorted and told in such a manner instead of bouncing back and forth in time. As a child, I couldn't keep the chronology straight, not without backtracking and rereading (which I wasn't incl
...more
Isaiah
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book The Golden Fleece and the Hero's Who Lived Before Achilles by Padraic Colum is about a young boy named Jason goes on a quest to find the golden fleece. Jason was the son of king Aeson, but becomes an orphan when he was 3 years old. Aeson send one of his slaves to take Jason to the king centaur. The slave did what he wished for. The centaur told the slave that he would look after the child until the child became a man. This centaurs name was King Chiron. After a few years later Jason wa ...more
Jennifer
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Anyone who is really interested in Greek mythology will love this book. I had been looking for a good re-telling of the story of Jason and the Argonauts and that's exactly what I found here. There were also additional tales and references to many, many other famous stories from Greek mythology interspersed throughout (the Labors of Heracles, Theseus and the Minotaur, the story of Prometheus, Orpheus and Eurydice, the story of Hades (aka "Aidoneus") and Persephone, Pandora's Box, etc., etc.). It ...more
Manuel Alfonseca
This book describes the voyage of the Argonauts in quest of the Golden Fleece.

I see two problems in this book:

a) Apparently it was too short, so the author "completed" it with several other Greek myths, some related, as to what happened to Jason's companions before or after the quest; some totally unrelated, as the stories of Perseus; Epimetheus and Pandora; or Prometheus.

b) The fact that the author is writing for children apparently moved him to soften some of the more grisly elements of the s
...more
Jamisen Blackwell
This book is about a youth named Jason who was fostered by a Chiron, the centaur. After he was fostered by Chiron he went back to his real father. Then he meets the king of his country, king Pelias, who makes him go on a daring voyage for THE GOLDEN FLEECE. He gets his army ready with famous people such as: Hercules, Orpheus, Atalanta, Theseus, and Medea. Will Jason be able to get THE GOLDEN FLEECE back to king Pelias, or will he die on his voyage to get it.

I would give this book to anyone. The
...more
Sam N
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Golden Fleece is about a boy named jason who goes on a journey for the Golden Fleece. He gets a crew of hero's that build a boat called the Argo. They start on their journey to the island of Colchis is, on their way they take breaks on other islands and help the community that is on the island. On the islands, they Save King Phineus from harpies and tell stories to the women of Lemnos. They finally get to Colchis and get the Golden Fleece. And return home.
I would recommend this book to any
...more
Casey O
May 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Golden Fleece by Padraic Colum is a book about a group of ancient heros who try to win the golden fleece. Jason one of the heros, is mad at King Aeson, his uncle as he rules Iolcus as a tyrant, raised by Chrion a great centaur, jason to win back Iolcus from his uncle, but he says he must win the golden fleece to rule Iolcus. Jason Gathers together many heros that are determined to win the golden fleece.

I disliked this book because it was very boring and had a very boring stile. I did not lik
...more
Crystal
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newberry, fantasy
I wouldn't have even given this book a chance if I hadn't read the forward by Rick Riordan. His forward made the book sound so exciting. It wasn't. The story is constantly jumping from one myth to another. The author has the heroes tell stories (myths) to each other while on their journey to gain back the Golden Fleece. All of the myth telling was boring and confusing. It was almost like the author thought he had to cover all the Greek myths in one book. Rather than reading the cliff notes versi ...more
Maurice
Jan 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
watered down ( PG )version of great greek tales of heroism and adventure. i love it, but when compared to other accounts of these legendary quests all of the guts seem removed (literally).

i recommend this for those new to greek mythology and any one, who like me, wants to know the answer to those jeopardy questions the next time around. :)
Sean Menon
So far I think The Golden Fleece and the Heros Who Lived Before Achilles is a cool book that is written in old english. Sometimes the story is hard to understand because it is thousands of years old. Overall, I think the book The Golden Fleece and the Heros Who Lived Before Achilles is an awesome book but is for people with high reading skills.
Christopher Montalbano
This book is about a boy named Jason who goes on a quest to find the Golden Fleece. He was born in the wild by a centaur and one day he finds out who he really is and he needs to find the Golden Fleece. On his epic journey he runs into danger, bad weather and monsters.Do you think he will find it? I would recommend this book to any one who likes adventure.
jacky
I read some book about Jason and the Golden Fleece and other myths in the sixth grade, but I have no clue what the title was. The fact that this one was a Newbury Honor makes this one a safe guess. If anyone had Mrs. Collins at Parker and remembers more let me know! :P
Josette
I didn't grow up reading myths, so I was very glad to finally learn who the Argonauts were! I like Colum's style of writing, although my 12 year old, who is reading this now, doesn't like it at all. (It doesn't sound like people text). ...more
Bailey Marissa
A fun story that helps people learn about Greek mythology.
Relish
Going by this book, I have no choice but to believe that all the Greek heroes were testosteronal jerks, particularly Heracles/Hercules (who also gave off pedo vibes), who kills things just because, and literally once (view spoiler)
The women in these stories were often skille
...more
Emily Curtis
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For any young reader that wants to learn about Greek myths without modern embellishment, Padriac Colum’s The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles is a good choice. As the title suggests, the story centers on Jason and the Argonauts, but the book also makes room for several other stories, including the tales of Heracles and Orpheus, and even of Zeus’s overthrow of his father Kronos. Colum fits these tales into his narrative both by providing further details about the prodigious ...more
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Newbery Medal & H...: Golden Fleece June Read 1 3 Jul 02, 2013 07:25AM  

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Padraic Colum was an Irish poet, novelist, dramatist, biographer and collector of folklore. He was one of the leading figures of the Celtic Revival. (Source) ...more

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