This extemely ambitious work, by the Chairman of the Department of History at the University of illinois, attempts to set down the basis of Hellenic Greek society as it developed and grew from 1100 to 600 B.C. At the offset he clearly warns that most of the evidence is physical rather than written, and that artifacts, drawings, and other specimens unearthed in recent years may certainly not tell the whole story. His discussions of the Minoan and Mycanaean societies preceding the Hellenic are excellent. His sense of detail is admirable too (he spends whole chapters for instance on such subjects as the rise of geometric pottery). His conjecture about dark ages brought about by the invasions of northern peoples, then the enlightening influence of the Orient, make fine grist for speculation. In the latter part of the work, he deals with the rise of the epic, the city-state, and of such intellectual growth as is reflected in Hesiod's Works and Days. Let there be fair warning about this book, however. It is not for the average lay reader, the person who wants some capsule historical information. Heavily footnoted, often difficult, but never turgid, it is a serious and important historical work. It's contribution is an important one!