Oct 082009

This book looks like it would be fun to read: “Histories Grecques : Snapshots from Antiquity” by Maurice Sartre, translated by Catherine Porter.

I learned about it from David Wharton’s review in The Weekly Standard. Here is the part that sold me:

Sartre proceeds more or less chronologically, but the subjects he chooses to explore at first seem random–for example, some Lydian coins, or a graffito on the leg of an Egyptian statue, or a fragmentary inscription from a jerkwater Macedonian town, regulating who can and can’t use the local gymnasium. The suspicion arises that Sartre is just taking us on an idiosyncratic tour of minor antiquities.

By his own confession, he follows his own interests instead of developing a grand thesis. But an overarching aim becomes clear soon enough: He wants to give us a detailed picture of life as it was lived in the polis by its many and varied inhabitants. Each chapter fills in a few more brush strokes.

Sounds like a man after my own Spokesriding heart. Maybe the example of his book will give me a few pointers on how to pull off such a thing for settlement-era history in the Great Lakes region.

BTW, I am not going to report to the FTC whether Sartre or the publisher paid me to say any of this.