The author implies in his title that he is going to answer the question: Why do the Greeks matter? And then he doesn't really answer it directly. For that reason, I was disappointed with the book.
In the Introduction, he writes, ". . . I assemble what pieces there are, contrast and compare, and try to remain in their presence . . . and then I try to communicate these sensations to my reader. So you will find in this book no breakthrough discoveries, no cutting edge scholarship, just, if I have succeeded, the feelings and perceptions of another age."
And that is exactly what you get. In my opinion, the worst thing about the book is the title.
That being said . . . he organizes his material in an interesting way: warrior (the illiad), wanderer (the odyssey), poet (other poetry), politician (drama), philosophy, and art & architecture. He begins each section with a myth that he feels embodies the points he wants to illustrate. Then he shows his reader how each artform is a reflection of the ancient greeks and their culture. It's all broadbrush strokes, very impressionistic.
It's a review of everything you already know. It's just a new way of organizing it. I think his quote from the Introduction says it all.
It is very well written, and it is very interesting. I was just looking for something with bullet points. There were no bullet points in this book.
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