2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2006
The layout of the book is quite terrible. There are two parts to the book; the first part is lessons and exercises, and the second part is grammar. To a newbie, Part I makes no sense at all. One has to read a number of pages in Part II before one can work on Part I. Also, the explanations are terse and unclear. While it might make a passable reference book, I would not recommend it as the starting point of one's study of Ancient Greek--even though I haven't read any other learn-greek books, I am certain good ones exists; this book is just not one of those.
Addendum: I have since purchased "Teach Yourself Ancient Greek" and I find it to be a much better self-study book.
on January 26, 2015
This is the first time I ever wished for longer copyright protection. The title page of this book bears the inscription "By James Turney Allen," with the helpful addendum "and the Staff of the Research & Education Association, Carl Fuchs, Language Program Director." The data page claims a copyright in 2001 for Research & Education Association.
James Turley Brown was a distinguished professor of classics at Berkeley. He died in 1948. See http://tinyurl.com/oo62jxr. HIs colleagues remembered him with affection and admiration:
"For students of Greek he set a high and rigorous standard justified by the even higher standard he set for himself. Thus he won their enduring intellectual respect. At the same time, his warm humanity, his forthright honesty, his unaffected humility, his occasional flashes of wit, his deep earnestness, his genuine simplicity, won their hearts and taught them what a real humanist was."
His chief research specialty was Greek drama. But also:
"Professor Allen's influence as a teacher ... extended far beyond the local campus through his The First Year of Greek, which, published in 1917 and revised in 1931, has gone through seventeen printings. This is one of those few textbooks treasured by students when the course is over and the grade filed away in the docket. Its popularity is a direct consequence of the personality of the author, who was able to communicate through it to others not only his wide and exact learning but his deep and manly love for his subject."
I don't have a copy of Allen's textbook at hand but I am virtually certain that this is what we have on offer here: Allen's book, rerpinted from the original plates, with no more acknowledgment of the casual ripoff* than the perfunctory one-liner quoted above. The only new material I can identify is a one-page "History of the Greek Language," offered as a frontispiece, Best I can tell, it was composed as an exam paper by a sophomore non-major who didn't get a very good grade in the course. It is on this, I assume, that the 2001 claim of copyright is based.
As to the substance, be warned that Allen's textbook never was a "review:" it was a textbook, for a class, with a teacher, and so irrelevant for the particular purpose to which it is offered here. In its own context, as a textbook, it was no doubt a work of art in its time. But it has long since been surpassed by more modern innovations--many of whose authors I suspect learned their craft from the likes of Allen. We stand on the shoulders of giants.
Update #1: Well hey--I see the Allen book is in fact available under its own name. Look here: http://tinyurl.com/n3nsl8s
Update #2: I'd you really want a "review," what should you get? My guess is that your best bet is to haul out your own first-year textbook and go through it again (worked for me). If you want a refresher on grammar only, you should consider Louise Pratt, The Essentials of Greek Grammar. For the more ambitious, there is Carl A.P. Rick, Ancient Greek: Intensive Review and Grammar.
*Obligatory lawyerly disclaimer: I'm willing to assume that the original copyright had expired, and that the good folks at REA broke no law in reprinting. Still, history has its due.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2004
This is actually a reprint of the old textbook "First Year of Greek" by James T. Allen. For more information about it, see the reviews posted here at Amazon under that title.