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Where does The Greek Way rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
I like to read Edith Hamilton. However, if your annoyed by the "compare and contrast" method of scholarship (I think its very outdated myself) you wont like this. Mrs Hamilton has a strong need to compare cultures and thus extract the truth shes looking for from the contrasts. The problem is that the generalizations she must inevitably make for this type of approach can be wide sweeping and fairly wild, and thus the conclusions she reaches based on these generalizations become merely subjective. Often you may find yourself disagreeing with her.
One area in particular I disagree with is Hamilton's conclusions regarding Ancient Egypt. Explaining the Egyptians preoccupation with death (as she puts it), she attributes this to the fact that Egypt was mostly a place of misery and toil, thus producing in the culure a certain yearning for the next life and a certain salvation in death. Whereas, on the other hand, you have Hamilton's Greeks, portrayed here as a youthful, playful and life affirming culture, centered on the here and now.
This is wildly inaccurate. The Greeks themselves -Solon, Euclid, Pythagoras, Plato, Herodotus-who traveled there at different times, and acknowledged Egypt as the richer, deeper and more profound culture in every case. The Greeks who made their way to Egypt returned to "revolutionize" their respective fields of science. However, they were merely translating the knowledge of the Egyptians. The Greeks saw themselves more as children when they compared themselves to the Egyptians. All of her sciences had their origins in Egypt, the Greek Gods themselves had their origin in Egypt. Egypt was several thousand years old by the time the Greeks came into their ascendancy. Far from misery and toil, the Egyptian land was abundant, the society was rich and vibrant. Why do you thing Egypt was the breadbasket for the entire Mediterranean even into Roman times? She was the hub of Mediterranean trade. The view of slaves toiling to build the pyramids is so outdated to be comical now days. Egyptian concepts around death were not the attempts of a desperate people to escape the chains of misery, but a highly developed science of the soul which revealed a deep understanding of the nature and immortality of the soul and the possibility for perfection in this life and the next.
Anyway, sorry for the rant, but that's one example that I can provide to show the dangers of this type of compare and contrast history. Still, its a fun listen. Nadia May is great, the book is immersive, and there is still a lot of great info in here.
What about Nadia May’s performance did you like?
Shes great always
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
One reaction, see above
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I will thwart the trend of obsequious unreflective praise of The Greek Way, probably because I have read it's original thesis in The Echo of Greece.
Essentially, TGW includes more tragedy and Comedy than did EOG and much more of the inessential in the bargain.
EOG focuses on that which is essential about ancient Athens: her philosophy and her sense of what a democracy is supposed to be. Nothing else really matters in conparison, no matter how many ruminations Hamilton makes on the supposed Greek core sensibility and the like. Hamilton, it pains me to say as a fellow admirer of ancient Athenian culture, is unduly biased toward all things Greek. Her work was worthwhile, but Echo is the better and miore lasting testament to the Ancient Athenians we are all thinking of. Pound for pound, there is certainly no comparison. Echo hands down more efficiently and elegantly defines the ancient Athenian ethos that Americans and Europeans (and all students of democracy of philosophy) look back to for inspiration and guidance.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful