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Greek Ways: How the Greeks Created Western Civilization Paperback – November 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-1893554573 ISBN-10: 1893554570 Edition: New Ed
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"In brief compass and clear, enjoyable prose, Professor Thornton has written a stimulating and delightful account of the remarkable and revolutionary characteristics that distinguished the Greeks of the ancient world from all societies before and since. In the process he responds with calm reason and broad and deep learning to the unhistorical, tendentious and foolish assaults launched against them as part of current political agendas. The happy result is this spendid book that allows the Greeks themselves to speak and reveal the absurdity of the modern barbarians who abuse them. -Donald Kagan, Hillhouse Professor of History and Classics, Yale Univeristy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Bruce thornton
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; New Ed edition (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893554570
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893554573
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book sets out to rescue the Greeks from the clutches of the postmodernists, deconstructionists and polymorphous perverse who have invaded the modern Classics department. Rather than seeing them as The Other, strangers in our midst, or as hypocrites who preached democracy while practicing slavery, etc., Thornton sees the Greeks squarely--in their own terms--and finds them to be our brothers. What is valuable in the much abused Western tradition--the examined life, the pursuit of truth, the dialogue about the place of the individual in the larger group--comes from the Greeks. Thornton's defense is spirited and learned, and, judging from the dada masquerading as scholarship these days, it arrives not a moment too soon. The Greeks live again in this brilliant book and we learn once again what their achievement was and how much we owe them.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By maximusone on October 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
The controversy about whether Greek civilisation was the main source of western civilisation's ideas about freedom, rationality etc... doesn't rage as much here as in the US, where a number of writers have, unconvincingly in my view, sought to argue that the Greeks borrowed much of their ideas on rationality, logic, freedom etc.. from other civilisations and in particular from Egypt.

So when I wanted read more about Greek influence on Western civilisation I dreaded a book which was merely a defense against these and other politically correct theories. Instead, although the author makes reference to this controversy, the book stands on its own in describing Greek civilisation and its enormous influence on today's world. The author does not pretend that the Greeks formed a cultural monolith, where everybody was convinced of the power of reason. But his very wide range of sources is persuasive enough that many of the ideas that were necessary building blocks for the rise of Western civilisation, such as that there should be a rational explanation for natural phenomena, originated with Greek thinkers. The fact that some of these paid for their ideas with their life (like Socrates) does not diminish the fact that the Greeks were there first.

What did I miss in this book ? I would have liked more about the transmission of Greek ideas to the West, i.e. how we lost much of this philosophical heritage only to regain it at the time of the renaissance. Secondly, although the author on a number of occasions asserts that other contemporary civilisations had not reached such and such a level, I would have liked to see more detail on this.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Greek Ways examines how the Greeks created Western civilization, re-examining the role of the Greeks in creating core concepts which fuel our civilization's foundations in modern times. Thornton argues that Greek ideals are alive in modern life, and that it was the Greeks who began to recognize a common human culture. High school to college students will find Greek Ways most accessible.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book should be read by anyone who wants to get a clearer picture of the contributions of ancient Greek society to our modern world.
The author does an excellent job of showing how modern day revisionism is nothing more than short-sighted "dribble", which chooses to ignore the timeless ideals of ancient Greece.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
How could one not love the civilization that has contributed the foundations of the West and so much to the world we live in? Bruce Thornton analyses the achievements of the glorious Greeks, from their earliest history to their attitudes toward homoerotic love. This book is a must for all classics, history, anthropology, art history, philosophy, and political science students......or for anyone who wants to be enlightened. There is something Greek in all of us!
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