Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea

Thomas Cahill has just published the fourth volume of his acclaimed "Hinges of History" series. The first, of course, was the best-selling "How the Irish Saved Civilization." Then came "The Gifts of the Jews," and "Desire of the Everlasting Hills." These books have topped the bestseller charts in Italy, Brazil and the U.S. Now, Cahill brings us on a tour of ancient Greece, in "Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea." Cahill begins with a look at Homer's epic poem The Iliad and the role war and warriors played in Greek life. What follows is a dazzling, accessible explanation of how the Greeks, to this day, influence our thoughts on philosophy, art, drama, politics, mathematics and more. This can seem like heavy stuff, but once again, Cahill has masterfully taken a complex, often dense, topic and fleshed it out nicely for the general reader. From Plato and Socrates to the drama of Sophocles (which gave Freud the character on which he based his famous Oedipus complex), Cahill makes it clear the era centered around 400 B.C. still has a hold on us today. ($27.50 / 304 pages / Nan A. Talese-Doubleday)

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