Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE ANCIENT GREEK WORLD by Jennifer T. Roberts


by Jennifer T. Roberts & illustrated by Tracy Barrett

Age Range: 11 - 15

Pub Date: June 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-19-515696-X
Publisher: Oxford Univ.

In the wake of Joy Hakim’s fabulous A History of US, the publishers are pairing historians and novelists for similarly readable, meaty tours of more ancient cultures. Here, paying particular attention to the roles of women and repeatedly noting that the cultural and economic achievements of the Greek city-states rested solidly on the backs of farmers and slaves, the authors trace the rise and fall of Crete, Mycenae, Classical Greece, and Alexander’s empire, interspersing topical chapters, illuminating side notes, and even an interview with a working archaeologist. Photos of artifacts and ruins, plus an admixture of carefully identified Renaissance art, support it all nicely. Leavened with engagingly informal commentary—“It’s very tempting for someone who isn’t governed by any laws to get a little relaxed about the difference between right and wrong”—and capped with substantial supporting lists of books and Web sites, this may not measure up to the likes of John McK Camp’s World of the Ancient Greeks (2002) in the visuals department, but for clarity, scholarship, and readability, it rises easily past the general run of assignment titles. (timeline, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)