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Full Circle: How the Classical World Came Back to Us

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  13 reviews
So much about the society that is now emerging in the twenty-first century bears an astonishing resemblance to the most prominent features of what we call the classical world - its institutions, its priorities, its entertainment, its physics, its sexual morality, its food, its politics, even its religion. The ways in which we live our rich and varied lives correspond - alm ...more
Hardcover, 438 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2010)
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Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

light, fluffy, some interesting trivia, a quaint approach, mildly interesting, worth the $5 at the cheap bookshop, not more
Chris Mallows
May 02, 2011 marked it as to-read
Philip Hensher's review of Full Circle: How the Classical World Came Back to Us
Ferdinand Mount Simon & Schuster, 256pp, £20
Unexpected parallels between our age and another are a staple of the jobbing journalist’s trade. Usually coinciding with a major exhibition at the Royal Academy, such arguments tend to claim that there are a surprising number of similarities between, say, the Byzantine Empire and the way we live now. Despite the fact that these arguments often result from a brain-storming
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A good read in many respects, except on religion - for example, Christianity was the first great monotheistic religion (Judaism?), and all parents send their children to faith schools 'to be educated in a religious ethos' - despite the fact that many do so because they are rated highly by Ofsted. Absolutely slates atheists to the point of being as narrow-minded as those he criticises, and shows a wilful refusal to engage properly with their arguments. And most disappointingly of all, he could ha ...more
Dec 02, 2020 rated it liked it
A satisfactory read but on a subject that held only moderate interest to me. The book was a gift and not one I would have chosen myself.
Whilst I was hoping for slightly more intellectual rigour in this book, it was an entertaining enough read. Mount certainly draws enough parallels between modern and classical life for his argument to be believed: the similarities in the 'cult of the body', for example, the attention given to celebrities, the attitudes towards food and sex and entertainment.

I can well believe that to a very real extent society has come full circle and recaptured or rediscovered a lot of the attitudes and beliefs
I picked up this book by chance but glad not to have missed and will probably read more by Ferdinand Mount.

Mount's book is basically about what goes around comes around. He gives examples from both the material and spiritual side of human nature - the bath, gym, bedroom and kitchen as well as intellectual ideas of science, religion, new age dialogue, fame, art and nature. He cleverly demonstrates how life is basically "palindrome which tells the same story if you read it backwards and forwards"
Jan 11, 2012 rated it liked it
The fact that things come back and go round and round over cneturies, like things, ideas, thoughts from the Roman times are coming back to us in the 12th Century, sounded very interesting to me.

The beginning was very good whent he author made links between the use of baths in Roman time and now. I really enjoyed that part, the information given and the way it was written.

The toher subjecs were interestng on itheir own, but less well written and examined. Too much was told of our days and not eno
Apr 02, 2011 rated it liked it
This book’s central thesis is that we have come round full circle since the time of ancient Greece and Rome and are now exhibiting many of their values and outlook. There are certainly some interesting parallels, particularly in terms of the cult of the body and the reverence for food, but I don’t think his case is entirely convincing.

Mount is primarily concerned with British society and writes extremely well. There are some good anecdotes and I found myself agreeing with many of his views on f
Michael Percy
Aug 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
At first I thought this book was a typical airport read and I regretted purchasing it. But I pushed on and found, although the author's thesis was sufficiently unsupported by evidence other than what one might glean from travelling around a bit, that I quite liked the Richard Dawkins bashing section enough to give it a go. There are some useful references to a number of other works I would like to read, and otherwise I am glad to have finished the book. Nevertheless, I must be more careful in fu ...more
Aug 17, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 150. If I had wanted a book about the modern christian church's comments on things I would have bought one. I don't.I wanted a book on Roman and Greece culture not to have to read the word Christianity a hundred times. I don't like books misrepresenting themselves that's all hence I have quit the book. ...more
Paul Fadoju
Sep 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: documentary
A thoroughbred book, tracing society's attitudes and mores. It is interesting to see that life as we know it and all our aspirations and modernity is a recycle of the classical world.

A good read for any one who like the classical world.
May 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
On the whole 3 stars. There was some of it that was just great, and is making me return to pre Socratic philosophy. Other chapters were a bit stretched. Overall, I would recommend it.
Joshua Harvie
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Jan 11, 2011
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Ferdinand Mount was born in 1939. For many years he was a columnist at the Spectator and then the Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Times. In between, he was head of the Downing Street Policy Unit and then editor of the Times Literary Supplement. He is now a prize-winning novelist and author of, most recently, the bestselling memoir Cold Cream. He lives in London.

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