From School Library Journal
Grade 9 UpAThis large, well-designed volume on Athens in the classical age invites readers to browse through the lavishly illustrated inserts on such topics as voting, medicine, building the Parthenon, and divination, and to linger over pictorial essays on gods and goddesses, Homeric heroes, the Olympics, and Alexander the Great. However, the main content of the book is in the three chapters that reconstruct the life of the city as lived by the ordinary householder, the aristocratic class, and the farmer-soldier. Based on historical fact and documentary evidence, the chapters are fine examples of the current trend toward historical storytelling, reconstructing the past through informed speculation and dramatization. A famous speech in defense of a man named Euphiletos, charged with the murder of his wife's lover, becomes the window into domestic middle-class life. The well-known figures of Pericles and Aspasia provide the basis for entering into the social and political life of the rich and powerful; and a re-creation of the battles of Marathon, on land, and the Athenian navy at sea, show the military in action. Full-color photographs, prints, sculptures, and drawings of numerous figures from Greek pottery decorate the pages in an appealing array of Greek art and architecture. The facts of history are here for the seeking, in the introductory overview, the biographical sketches, and the maps, but the book is really structured, and visually designed, for leisurely reading and enjoyment.AShirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7^-12. With lavish color art and vivid descriptions, this book re-creates the world of ancient Athens. The scope is broad, including politics, sports, society, arts, and religion. In a presumed attempt to enliven the text, the editors have used imagined or sketchy historical incidents to link topics. For example, one chapter calls up an actual incident in which a man kills his unfaithful wife's lover--an acceptable solution according to ancient Greek law. Although little about the incident is really known (not even the wife's name is recorded), the occurrence evolves into 25 pages that include speculation about the events, brief essays on education and medicine, and facts about Athenian marriage rites, domestic architecture, and social customs. In this instance, the incident is little more than a gimmick on which to hang research. However, the rich and fascinating culture ultimately does come alive, and thanks to an in-depth index, readers will be able to extract the information they want and need. Glossary; bibliography. Randy Meyer