Basically, this book is stronger on instruction than on entertainment, despite the publisher's hope for a dual purpose. For while there is packed into its pages an immense amount of material pertinent to his subject- Greek civilization in relation to its greatest historian- the manner of telling demands considerable background on the part of the reader, and more than average persistence in following the philosophical thread basic to the whole approach. Just as Herodotus' stature is enhanced by his own ability to weigh the evidence and challenge the findings, so de Selincourt, translator of the Penguin Herodotus challenges Herodotus. The early part of the book is biographical, placing Herodotus in the period in which he lived, against the inadequacies of historical record along with the questions of bias, of credulity, of the Greek feeling for the Olympic gods. Next he surveys Greek history, the Persian Wars the breaking point between an almost legendary Greece and the widening of the world role of Greece. Finally, he assesses the various facets of Greek literature and culture and way of life, and the contributions make through the political pattern to the growth of the democratic thesis. A learned book, with much of concern and reward to the reader dedicated to the Greek image. A book unlikely to appeal to the average layman.