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Publisher's Summary

In this compact yet comprehensive history of ancient Greece, Thomas R. Martin brings alive Greek civilization from its Stone Age roots to the fourth century BC. Focusing on the development of the Greek city-state and the society, culture, and architecture of Athens in its Golden Age, Martin integrates political, military, social, and cultural history in a book that will appeal to students and general audiences alike.

Now in its second edition, this classic work now features updates throughout.

©2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Ancient Greece, Second Edition

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A good introduction

This is a very brief introduction to the history of ancient Greece, but still it presents the main ideas and developments of those societies. The book is enriched by the use of a vast amount of quotes from ancient sources.

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  • Sean Nowland
  • 2018-07-25

Just the way I like it!

I listened to this mostly while traveling in Greece, and it was a wonderful companion as I was visiting sites and museums. It is very clear, direct, and informational. I prefer an efficient narrative and this spoke to me.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Bardwire777
  • 2019-08-12

I’m a history fan and this was informative but a snoozer..

I got this because I’m a huge fan of Greek myths and am headed to Greece next month. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of fascinating material here (Alcibiades, Socrates, Sparta, Perecles) but there’s also plenty of general anthropological fat as well that dulls the taste for the rest. It takes a lot to bore me with history but this book occasionally fails to illuminate things that I found interesting and made me feel like a bored teenager being forced to sit through History Class - and I thought I’d outgrown that!! Furthermore the reader’s performance, though measured and lucid, had, by design, matched the sterility and blandness of the academic prose. I found myself tuning out for long sections and not feeling compelled to go back and get caught up - this is from a guy who didn’t want to miss a single moment of that great Frederick Douglass biography Prophet of Freedom and that book was LOOOONG. I wasn’t a huge fan of that reader either, but that had some poetry to it and at transported the listener. I struggled with this one.

5 people found this helpful

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  • beakt
  • 2019-07-16

Well-written, poor reading/editing performance

The content is straightforward, and about what you'll expect. A narrative about how things were in Ancient Greece, mostly from a political perspective (rulers, government, relevant geography, wars, etc.), but with some information about social life.

What distracts from this is the poor production quality. First, the reading sounds heavily spliced, and so the tone and volume can change mid-sentence, which is distracting. The sound engineers and director didn't do enough to ensure consistency in the result. Also, no one proof-listened to this, as at least twice I noticed a phrase, or an entire passage, was repeated (different takes of each). I have to wonder if anything was skipped, or out-of-order.

Not only that, the narrator himself seems uninterested in the text. He sometimes puts emphasis on the wrong word in a sentence given the context, indicating he's not paying attention to what he's reading. He speaks haltingly and without proper phrasing. Sometimes there's a participial or prepositional phrase at the start of a sentence, and he reads it as if the sentence ended with the phrase. Or vice-versa; making the end of a sentence sound like a phrase connected to the next one. All this makes the text hard to follow at times. And there were a few words that he didn't pronounce clearly enough, and even as I listened several times, I never could figure out what it was, even in context!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Janet Sands
  • 2020-11-13

snore

The narration and context remind me of stereo instructions. Not at all what I expected.

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  • Peggy C.
  • 2020-10-05

Highly disappointing

This book reads like an entry-level college textbook. Why are we given the background information on southeastern Europe as early as 10000 BCE and why is the region still referred to as Greece in the book when at that point there weren’t any Greeks even in existence anywhere?

Despite the 2013 publication date, Martin argues for an Anatolian Indo-European homeland, a minority view in 2013, and then remarkably doesn’t defend his position or explain archaeologists who reject the outdated Anatolian hypothesis, such as David Anthony, who published his groundbreaking work way back in 2007, 6 years before this book (Go read that instead).

The final nail in the coffin is the author’s anachronistic criticism of Athens, in the very first chapter, of not including women in the class of voting citizens in c. 450 BCE. I’ve never heard that one before!

Reading is pretty good despite some mismatched editing, I would have given up trying to read this after the first few chapters so I commend the Audible reader, Lescault, on endurance more than anything.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Yas
  • 2021-02-06

Greek geeks

The history of the Greeks always feels like the history of the literate world, doesn't it?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Malone
  • 2021-07-11

Intriguing History

I'm studying Archaeology and used this to supplement my Classical Archaeology module. Helps put all the pieces together.

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  • Cassie
  • 2021-07-09

Zzzzz

I'm a lifelong history lover and a long time audible lover. The narrator's voice isnt terrible but.. He is so monotone and BORING. I've never been bored by history before! Seriously, I had to stop listening and I'm genuinely interested in the topic. Please find a new narrator and rerecord!

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  • David Kennedy
  • 2021-06-15

Great Read for the Casual & Scholarly Reader

I grabbed this book because it was a required reading for one of my college courses, and why wouldn't you choose an audio book versus reading the physical book. After listening to this and getting what I needed out of it I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed the book on a casual level as much as a scholarly level. I would definitely recommend this to anyone interested in ancient history.

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  • Chris Hummel
  • 2021-05-13

Solid and Colorful Introduction

Martin provides an excellent introduction in Greek history, useful to both the new student and the more specialized historian. Well written, free of jargon, this work provides great background and a solid starting point for those wishing to know more about these fascinating people and remarkable era that has shaped the history of much of the western world and the Middle East. The expert will find in it a solid review and primer with enough details and discussion of newer scholarship to reawaken their interest in Greek history from the Minoan and Mycenean eras through the Hellenistic Age. Highly recommended, with a solid (and mostly error free) reading by the warm-voiced narrator.