27 January, 2010

Next Up...

The Life of Greece


Will Durant

The problem is, i feel completely inadequate to write anything about this work; it has so much history to it (sorry about the pun), so much approval for the series, so much scholarship, that i cannot truly make a judgement of its value. On the other hand, in each of these reviews i try merely to give my own response to the books i read; that i am competent to do.

So, my response is...? I like the book (there’s a tentative quality to my voice, can you catch it?), for the most part. I’m not even sure i can put my finger on anything specifically that i question; perhaps it is simply the history of the book ~ i ought to like it, so much, so many times have i read about it, seen it held up as a classic. Maybe i just don’t like having something pushed down my throat ~ in which case the question arises: Why did i bother to read it? A more interesting question is, Will i, now or later, find another of Durant’s series and read that? I think so, yes; later. So, from that perspective, i must have enjoyed Greece. Some things I might have enjoyed a little more (better reproductions of more artworks), but overall, yes, i did enjoy it.

I am fascinated ~ have been for years ~ with the origins of peoples, especially those of the eastern Mediterranean; Durant has some excellent information there ~ of course, it is seventy years old; i wonder what scholarship has changed since then? At the very least, i know, Linear B has been deciphered, so that’s a new line of information to follow. Perhaps i shall find another, more recent, book i can pursue it in; another measure of success for Greece! In the end, then, the tentative tone must leave my voice as i reiterate, i enjoyed reading Durant.

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