SAILING THE WINE-DARK SEA: Why the Greeks Matter

Thomas Cahill, Author, Olympia Dukakis, Read by , read by Olympia Dukakis. Random House Audio $29.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7393-0687-1

Dukakis makes an oddly fine match for this learned, accessible and occasionally glib survey of early Greek culture and its contributions to Western civilization. While her gruff Boston accent may seem like a strange match for a historical work, it suits this text, which moves fluidly between quoting Sappho on one page and referring to the gods as keeping something "on the QT" on another. Indeed, Cahill's project aims not merely to explain the Greeks, but to enliven them. In an effort to take them off their crumbling pedestals and make a modern audience appreciate them as a complex people struggling to comprehend and improve their world, he quotes passages from well-known Greek works and writes comfortably and unassumingly in a colloquial, contemporary style. Perhaps this is why Dukakis fits right in. As an actress, she has more than enough skill to carry listeners through a lengthy excerpt from the Iliad, but she can also project a no-nonsense demeanor that makes the reader feel like she's sitting you down and telling you how it was. The result is a vivid, tangible look at who the Greeks were and what they have come to mean. Simultaneous release with the Doubleday hardcover (Forecasts, Aug. 25, 2003). (Nov. 2003)

Reviewed on: 03/01/2004
Release date: 10/01/2003
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