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Publisher's Summary

Herodotus is not only the father of the art and the science of historical writing, but also one of the Western tradition's most compelling storytellers. In tales such as that of Gyges, who murders Candaules, the king of Lydia, and usurps his throne and his marriage bed, thereby bringing on, generations later, war with the Persians, Herodotus laid bare the intricate human entanglements at the core of great historical events. In his love for the stranger, more marvelous facts of the world, he infused his magnificent history with a continuous awareness of the mythic and the wonderful. For more than a hundred generations, his supple, lucid prose has drawn readers into his panoramic vision of the war between the Greek city-states and the great empire to the east. And in the generosity of his spirit, in the instinctive empiricism that took him searching over much of the known world for information, in the care he took with sources and historical evidence, in his freedom from intolerance and prejudice, he virtually defined the rational, humane spirit that is the enduring legacy of Greek civilization.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Darwin8u on 05-21-12

Pater historiae: Latin, b/c who gets Greek jokes?

The narration was solid, but not top shelf. The Histories, however, is one of those books where an audiobook helps. Reading Herodotus, one can often get bogged down in the loops of geography, people, history, culture and meandre through miles of esoterica. The audiobook gives you a good pace and force-marches you through to the end. I enjoyed the audiobook, but utilized it more as a tool as I read the Landmark series. That is another aspect where the audiobook helps. When reading one translation and listening to another, similar translation, the reader/listener is often able to glean additional information.

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28 of 29 people found this review helpful


By Leslie Grey McCawley on 09-10-10

Pretend the narrator is your favorite Uncle

Every few minutes the oblivious elderly narrator bumps into the microphone or some other object nearby, which is very distracting. If you think of the reading as a favorite uncle or prof telling you his opinion of the history of the known world up to that point, (and who just happens to bump into whatever is near him) that makes it more tolerable. I am surprised anyone thought this narration worth selling as a product or worth paying for; I should have previewed it first, obviously. That said, if you can ignore all that, then the stories are mind-numbing, in a good way. So many civilisations I had never even heard of before! So many tyrants being horrible in ways new to my imagination when I foolishly thought the current evil of humanity was surely the worst. Amazing perspective on human history, in other words, and very worth either reading or listening to. It would be useful to have a map of the ancient world handy, though, as it is hard to envision the rise and fall of all these kingdoms, tribes and empires.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Francis on 09-10-06

Curiously successful

Herodotus read his book aloud at Athens and in many ways this work seems an ideal choice for an audio book. Bernard Mayes'voice is distinctive, and his manner may seem at first rather fussy and pedantic.But in a curious way this suits the discursive narrative style of Herodotus and his indefatigable interest in details.The translation- Rawlinson-is accurate but archaic in tone.Yet Bernard Mayes reads with such intelligence that he succeeds in creating a plausible voice for Herodotus and sustains interest throughout a very long and various work. Some listeners may be put off by a voice different from the usual mannerof reading by actors,others may be deterred by the archaic language of the translation used, but anyone who persists in listening to this very long book will get to know in an enjoyable way one of the most endlessly fascinating works of the ancient world.This version seems to me much preferable to the alternative read by the egregious and ubiquitous Charlton Griffin

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26 of 26 people found this review helpful


By Francis on 09-10-06

Curiously successful

Herodotus read his book aloud at Athens and in many ways this work seems an ideal choice for an audio book. Bernard Mayes'voice is distinctive, and his manner may seem at first rather fussy and pedantic.But in a curious way this suits the discursive narrative style of Herodotus and his indefatigable interest in details.The translation- Rawlinson-is accurate but archaic in tone.Yet Bernard Mayes reads with such intelligence that he succeeds in creating a plausible voice for Herodotus and sustains interest throughout a very long and various work. Some listeners may be put off by a voice different from the usual mannerof reading by actors,others may be deterred by the archaic language of the translation used, but anyone who persists in listening to this very long book will get to know in an enjoyable way one of the most endlessly fascinating works of the ancient world.This version seems to me much preferable to the alternative read by the egregious and ubiquitous Charlton Griffin

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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