GREEK REALITIES by Finley Hooper
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The enormous amount of material in this fine history of Greek civilization is controlled by Hooper's nearly perfect taste. What is meaningful to modern readers, and what has been wrongly accentuated and romanticized by past and present historians, is always clearly indicated in the evenest of tones and a seemingly casual manner: Hooper on the Greeks reads like Gibbon with a mute in his horn. Naturally enough, the central period of Greek history--the rise and life of Athens--is central to his concern. One sweeps from the victory at Marathon to the waning years after the defeat by Sparta with a master narrator who integrates art, philosophy and everyday mores into his text with a passion for Juxtaposition and irony. Ideas are his forte--but the men who made them become just as real. The dynamics of the growth of democracy are his passionate subject, but the gritty debates and infighting of common politics live again under his touch. The strategy of war is of overall importance, but his focus on the embarrassing tactics of a single officer feeds the general theme with life. Dr. Hooper states that there was no single Greek way, but many. He telescopes an age into four hundred and some pages of superior scholarship, style, and gentle philosophical persuasion. The result; a history both intelligent and popular.

Pub Date: March 6th, 1967
Publisher: Scribners