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Athens: A Cultural and Literary History (Cities of the Imagination)by Michael Llewellyn Smith
Synopses & Reviews
Modern Athens is a bustling, overgrown city, continually coming to terms with its illustrious past. Dominated by the Parthenon, the world-famous symbol of classical antiquity, it has been touched by every aspect of Greece's turbulent history, suffering invasions and occupations, sieges, division and dictatorship, and has grown dramatically into a metropolis of four million people. Michael Llewellyn Smith describes the history and culture of Athens, site of the 2004 Olympic Games and city of monuments enduring, purged and restored. Exploring its streets and squares, he reveals layers of Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine history, elegant Bavarian neoclassical buildings, and a modern city of concrete and glass, metro and tram. THE CITY OF VISITORS: treasure hunters and Philhellenes; Byron and Chateaubriand; Thackeray and Mark Twain; Freud, Virigina Woolf and Winston Churchill. THE CITY OF OLYMPIANS: host of the first modern Games of 1896 and the Olympiad of 2004; the revival of the Olympic idea. THE CITY OF ATHENIANS: classical soldiers and thinkers; poets, politicians and princes; migrants and refugees from Greece and beyond.
Book News Annotation:
This travel guide-cum-history by a former British ambassador to Greece/historian who lives in Athens focuses mainly on the city that became the modern capital in 1834. But as the Olympics exemplify, the past is part of its present. Smith includes pen-and-ink illustrations rather than the usual tourist photos, a glossary of Greek terms, and places to visit (without contact information).
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Smith describes the history and culture of Athens, site of the 2004 Olympic Games and city of monuments enduring, purged and restored. Illustrations & maps.
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