"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
Eighteen years reviewing books, audiobooks, graphic novels, movies and music! More than 1500 reviews.

Visit DWD's Reviews of Books, Audiobooks, Music and Video new sister blog: DWD's Reviews of Tech, Gadgets and Gizmos!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Ancient Greece by Eric D. Nelson

The problem is that this book is trying to be two things at once - a resource book to be used as a quick reference (When was Alexander the Great born? What did the Epicureans believe?) or is it a basic history of the Ancient Greeks? Other books in the series that I have reviewed, such as The Complete Idiot's Guide to World Religions were clearly meant to be a quick reference guide.

King Pyrrhus (319/318 BC–272 BC)
So, as a history, this is sort of a frustrating read. The story of the Ancient Greeks is told in fits and starts. As a quick reference, it is good. The facts are solid and told in an understandable, interesting manner. I wasn't using it as a quick reference, rather I was reviewing the topic so as to be better prepared for the next time I teach ancient history. You can never tell what interesting tidbits you can pick up to spice up your presentations - even from the most basic of sources. For example, I learned that King Pyrrhus - the king that inspired the term "Pyrrhic victory" was killed by a woman that threw a pot out of her window during a street battle (although further research shows that some claim he was only stunned by a roofing tile and this allowed him to be killed by a soldier. Either way, it's a good story).

So, as a narrative history - this is a 3 star book. As a reference, it is a 5 star book. So, split the difference and call it 4 stars out of 5.

Reviewed on March 30, 2010.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Ancient Greece by Eric D. Nelson.

No comments:

Post a Comment