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Olympic Wandering: Time Travel Through Greece Hardcover – March 30, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Part travelogue, part mythological tale, Wandering takes readers on a journey to prove that the Greek people are the modern-day equivalents of the characters in the Iliad and the Odyssey. The first part of the book follows the seldom-told tale of Ulysses's life as a young king in Greece and the events leading up to and following the Trojan War. It reads as both a novella and a history book. There's plenty of adventure, from Ulysses's quest to find Achilles to his 10-year, perilous trip home after the war. The second half focuses on the author's travels to the various Greek islands and other parts of the country, weaving together travel narrative, history, and culture. Lundberg masterfully uses historical references as a framework. Readers need not know much about Greek history or Greece as everything is explained in an easy-to-understand manner. This approach to history and culture shows that the people of Greece embody everything that existed in Ulysses's time. Although the few illustrations serve mainly as decoration, Lundberg's descriptions of the scenery and people provide more than enough information to paint a vivid portrait of the country.–Erin Dennington, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA
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"David Lundberg takes the reader on a travelogue of adventure. OLYMPIC WANDERING is masterfully done!" -- Dr. Edward Fort, Chancellor Emeritus, North Carolina A&T State University

"a wonderful, well-narrated journey...witty and shrewd, and reveals a great love for Greece, its people past and present." -- Nikos Kotziamanis, sculptor of the New Colossus of Rhodes

"vivid descriptions of the country...memoir, history, travelogue, cultural commentary, and tribute to a country that Lundberg loves." -- The Virginia Quarterly Review

"you feel compelled to read every word on every page, reveals a land of enchantment, a place of dreams." -- The Greensboro News and Record

(Lundberg) marvels at the Greeks' strong sense of self, retained through thousands of years of invasion, conflict, and occupation. -- Bostonia Magazine

David Lundberg is getting heaps of praise for his travelogue/memoir/historical novel. His love of Greece is evident. -- Austin American Statesman

Weaving together travel narrative, history and culture, (it) paints a vivid portrait of the country. -- Dreamscapes Travel and Lifestyle Magazine

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Zante Publishing; 1st Printing edition (March 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976324644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976324645
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,431,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Theodore A. Rushton on January 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Just as no one would try to understand the American character without learning about George Washington, it's impossible to understand the Greek character without knowing something of Ulysses.

Lundberg adds a third factor, a wife who was born in Greece where he served after graduating from the US Air Force Academy. The combination serves him well; his first sentence sums up the whole meaning of Greece and the USA, "The gods ordained this country for individualism".

Sometimes we best recognize ourselves in the portrait of another; in this book, the rampant individuality of the Greeks within a strong cultural framework presents an interesting parallel to the US. If it's read merely as a travelogue, the book is interesting for anyone planning a visit. But it is more; again and again, without tiresome comparisons being made, it is also a reflection of American attitudes.

Democracy in America was built on two foundations; first, that of centuries of English individualism, and second, a study and appreciation of the basics of Greek democracy from the age of Pericles. It is much more than the spirit of 'Zorba' and 'Never on Sunday', Lundberg delves into the Greek love of personal freedom from the Trojan War to independence from Turkey.

Even though he is a scholar, he writes with the calm skill and clarity of a friend rather than the precise obfuscation of a pedant. The usual travel books emphasize objects, from ancient monuments to modern taxi fares; this book offers a clear introduction to the spirit and attitude of the Greeks. It is a nice introduction to the 'Iliad' and 'Odyssey', as well as classics such as 'The Greek Way' by Edith Hamilton.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on February 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Before I start let me warn you that Greece is one of the two nations I wish to visit one day. The other nation is Japan. So I'm already kind of a lover of Greek history and culture even before I cracked open the book.

Even if I had known nothing about Greece and its people Olympic Wandering would have been a delight to read. The author, David Lundberg, links the past of ancient Greece to the people of modern Greece by telling us the story of Ulysses's travels. But he uses the story to show us the culture and traditions that Greece has held and kept over the centuries. Greece has been able to keep itself together, even with invasions in the form of real armies and the more troublesome invasion of globalization, over those centuries.

It is like exploring the roots of the tree. Ancient Greece, and the legends it brought us, hold the seeds of the warm, living Greece of today. Ruins might stand on the hill tops but the people keep the islands and mainland alive by just being themselves.

And he can show it to us because he is now a part of it - seeing it through American eyes but with a Greek heart.

I enjoyed, more than anything else, the chapters on the Greek people. Having been to Italy and Spain I can picture the warmth from the sun, the calm sea, the home cooked food and the untouched landscape.

The book is not just about history nor is it some kind of tour book. It is a dialogue about the soul, the spirit, that makes up Greece and its only flaw is that one can't truly understand the Greece the author loves without one day going there.

Get it new or used, but get it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By isala on January 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
After reading Professor. Lundberg's book it is difficult not to agree with his love for everything Greek! The author has spent much of his adult life in Greece and has a Greek wife, so he definitely knows what he is talking about.

After a brief introduction where he describes the impact Greece had on him when he first arrived Professor Lundberg tells us how deeply rooted modern Greek culture is in the ancient Greek culture of the Homeric heroes. The first part of the book is about the hero Ulysses and how he travelled *to* Troy, and in the second part of the book the author and his family follows in the footsteps of Ulysses in modern Greece. Even though a lot has changed over the millenia, the landscapes and the culture are still more or less the same. The sea, the cliffs, the friendly and curious people, the food, the wine, and the fierce individualism of the Greek people.

In Greece, in contrast to the rest of the Balkans, history is not divisive, or a weapon. for the Greeks it is a uniter, somehing that makes them comfortable with their own identity. Remember that Greece has a history at least as turbulent as the rest of the Balkans with foreign occupation, war, civil war, military dictatorships, and politicians as corrupt as any! There should be a lesson for us all here.

The book is not a travel guide as such, but it will help a traveller who wants to get more than just the standard tourist sights.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book combines the mythology/history of the Trojan War and Ulysses' attempts to return to his kingdom with the Modern Greek nation and people. The "abduction" of Helen is the flash point that leads to war between the Greeks and Trojans, but the geopolitical situation made the war inevitable. Troy was in a position where it could control a lucrative trade route to the Black Sea, which was damaging Greek commerce. The Greeks found it very difficult to agree on whether to go to war and who was to contribute, but in the end, they were united enough to send a fleet.

As is chronicled in the Iliad, and recounted here in modern terminology, the war was a long one. Lundberg occasionally breaks in with additional material describing what the region is like now. Many Greeks died before Troy fell and those who survived were permanently scarred. Ulysses attempts to return home and his adventures, chronicled in the Odyssey, are also retold using modern terminology. Lundberg describes the regions where he traveled, making educated guesses about the location if he is not certain.

The final segment of the book is about the travels of Lundberg through the modern Greek nation. He describes the people, their passions, beliefs and role in the world. It is an excellent explanation of how Greeks view life and the world.

It is impossible to understate the role of ancient Greece in the rise of the Western World. While it was not democracy as we know it, the government of ancient Greece was more democratic than any seen in the Western world for centuries. Greece is also where reason and logic first became paramount in the thought processes of humans. During this time, reasoning became abstract and ideas such as the perfect circle became part of mathematical terminology. This book is a joy to read and a modern recapitulation of two of the greatest works of the literature of Western Civilization.
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