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I had heard of Herodotus since my boyhood but assumed he was irrelevant due to old age. However, since signing up for Audible.com I have taken a great liking to ancient histories.
I have found the reading of this book so excellent that I thought I was listening to the author himself. The reading is so comfortable and warm that I just decided to take a trip on the river of history and let Herodotus carry me where he wished.
The most touching and almost inspiring section was Herodotus' decription of how the Athenians felt about defending their homeland from destruction, how they felt about and valued their political and personal freedoms, and how they realized their culture was unique in the world and thus vital to save.
Herodotus talks about the most personal habits of the various cultures he visits, and tells a great story. Sometimes his accuracy seems remarkable, and other times his observations and facts were charming but wrong. I found it interesting to hear how kings justified going to battle, and how they got their subjects to go along with them.
Herodotus and the ancients put great faith in oracles, and I can only wonder...
I recommend the entire book's two parts, and am looking forward to listening to reader Charlton Griffin's other readings.
30 of 30 people found this review helpful
If Herodotus wants to give you his opinion on the vanity of the Egyptian Pharaoh Cheops, he first travels to Egypt to talk to the source (dozens of local priests, wise men, and even customers at the local taverns). Then he'll personally measure both the Cheops pyramid and his brother's pyramid to confirm that Cheops' was 40 feet taller than Dedefre's.
He'll even take a 10 week trip up the Nile just to collect and compare stories on what is the source of that river (which he never really determines to his own satisfaction.
Remember, this was 2400 years ago when a native escort in a canoe or a camel caravan had to substitute for a bus or plane ride. This is what I call extreme dedication (or maniacal curiosity).
What is fact and what is fiction in the stories he collects? And do historians give Herodotus adequate credit for what he has accomplished? It makes no matter. Almost every book, every thesis, every anecdote on Ancient Western Civilization can trace its seeds back to Herodotus, the original historical reference book.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful
Obviously it's history and he always uses more words than necessary but for all that it's worth it. Some tales are better than others. I didn't like the narrator's accent. But that's probably just me.