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Debra Hamel is the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

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Updated 5-8-24. [Reviews are longer and have ratings. Notices do not have ratings.]

Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Book Notices | Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuściński

Ryszard Kapuściński, Travels with Herodotus

  Amazon  

In Travels with Herodotus, Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński writes about some of his experiences traveling the world as a foreign correspondent, beginning with his first ever trip abroad, to India, in the 1950s. On the day his editor gave him that assignment, she also handed him a copy of Herodotus's History, a far-ranging account of the clash between the Persians and Greeks in the 5th century B.C. and the antecedents to that conflict. Herodotus is the so-called Father of History because he invented the genre, but he was also really the father of journalism—a roving reporter, like Kapuściński, who traveled the world and interviewed locals and compiled a narrative to preserve information and try to explain events. Kapuściński felt a kinship with him across the millennia. He describes himself as regularly carrying his copy of Herodotus with him and dipping into it at intervals. He alternates in this book between his own reports and those of Herodotus. The Herodotus sections include translated snippets of the History and speculative paragraphs in which he imagines what his predecessor's experiences may have been. So the result is a kind of hybrid, a travelogue through space (in his reports) and time (the Herodotus bits). While each of these parts made for interesting enough reading, they don't really mesh together all that well. Sometimes his shoehorning Herodotus into the narrative felt a little jarring. (Case in point: the author's odd and arguably pointless insertion of Herodotus's account of the Amazons and Scythians in his book's last chapter.) Still, it's an interesting enough read, and I was happy to re-immerse myself in Herodotus' world for a bit.

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