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Mythology [Paperback]

Edith Hamilton
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 14 1998
Since its original publication by Little, Brown and Company in 1942, Edith Hamilton's Mythology has sold millions of copies throughout the world and established itself as a perennial bestseller in its various available formats: hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, and e-book. Mythology succeeds like no other book in bringing to life for the modern reader the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths and legends that are the keystone of Western culture - the stories of gods and heroes that have inspired human creativity from antiquity to the present.

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Edith Hamilton loved the ancient Western myths with a passion--and this classic compendium is her tribute. "The tales of Greek mythology do not throw any clear light upon what early mankind was like," Hamilton explains in her introduction. "They do throw an abundance of light upon what early Greeks were like--a matter, it would seem, of more importance to us, who are their descendents intellectually, artistically, and politically. Nothing we learn about them is alien to ourselves." Fans of Greek mythology will find all the great stories and characters here--Perseus, Hercules, and Odysseus--each discussed in generous detail by the voice of an impressively knowledgeable and engaging (with occasional lapses) narrator. This is also an excellent primer for middle- and high-school students who are studying ancient Greek and Roman culture and literature. --Gail Hudson


'One of the great teachers and scholars of our time' -- WALL STREET JOURNAL

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THE GREEKS did not believe that the gods created the universe. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best overview out there Aug. 21 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Marvelous! This is, quite simply, the best book on ancient mythology available today. It has everything you could ask for; It's readable, erudite scholars tome this is not; it's comprehensive, covering every major myth you'll find allusions too in modern literature; it's not analytical, it presents the stories as they should be, beautiful in their simplicity, not awash in modern symbolism; and, most important of all, the book sparks an passion for mythology. After reading this book, instead of feeling like you know all there is to know about the ancients religion, you'll want to actually read Hamilton's original sources. It actually makes you want to read Hesiod, Homer, Herodotus, Euridpides, Sophocles, Virgil, and all the others in the great classical cannon. Truly, I can't recommend this book enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good storytelling. Feb. 23 2004
By Dean
Hamilton tells the stories, that may span several sources, in essentialized form in single stories for each character or topic. This overview technique creates stories that are often times more interesting than the drier read of some original texts. She provides references to all materials used enabling the reader to investigate further when they find a story of particular interest. This is a great introductory text to Greek Mythology or a great text for more advanced readers working to essentialize their knowledge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction for Early Teens Jan. 22 2004
The major fault of Edith Hamilton's classic Mythology also serves as its greatest strength. Hamilton edited this collection in a very conservative social mileu, and chose to edit out and play down much of the sex and violence one typically finds in the greek myths. However, that choice makes it an excellent selection to give teens and pre-teens their first introduction to the world of Zues, Perseus, Hercules, and the rest.
Several other intructory books on myths are available, but this remains the classic. Other less sanitized collections, however, are probably better for older readers.
The myths are well presented and organized. A short section on Norse myth, though prefunctory and not Hamilton's speciality, provides in theresting contrast and good fun for young readers. The essays included are good, though not the books greatest strength. They are nontheless worthwhile as they sketch out the complex interrelationships between the greek gods and heroes offering the reader substantial intellectual stimulation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to Classical Mythology June 19 2003
I've done quite a bit of reading about greek (and roman) mythology and I still enjoyed this book. They way the myths are writen is so good that I could almost feel myself back in ancient Greece, observing the scenes. I also enjoyed the quotes from the original source where the myth was told (e.g. The Odyssey, The Illiad, etc). Overall this is a good basic classical mythology book. Even people who already know these myths should read this book if only for the delightful manner in which they are told. For someone who cannot match a roman god to his greek conterpart this might require flipping back to the first chapter. If you pay attention the first time you read it you shouldn't have any trouble with this.
Near the end of the book there are a couple norse myths. That's it. If your looking for a book that has myths from more than just Greece/Rome you'll be disappointed. However if you looked at the table of contents and noticed the lack of other cultural myths (and still wanted to read the book) you should be extremely satisfied. I know i was...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good overview, but not the best reference. Nov. 29 2001
Looking at the title of the book, I thought this book would be a collection of myths. Upon looking at the list of other titles by Edith Hamilton (like "The Greek Way" and "The Roman Way"), I felt that this would be more of the history of mythology. This book is a blend of these two ideas.
The book is not organized to be a quick reference. It tells the main stories and characters as well as gives a brief section on the minor figures. For each section, the author explains where she is getting the material (for instance, from Homer or from Ovid) with a little editorial comment. Then, she relates the myth. She is giving you the story, but it does not read like a story. It reads like a college instructor giving you the highlights of the story with the occasional comment.
Although the bulk of the myths covered are either Greek or Roman, Hamilton does include some Norse mythology. Given the difference in worldview difference, I would like to have seen more contrasting of the differences.
I found this book to be a great review of the Greek and Roman myths. I found that the differences between the Greek and Roman interpretations of the same basic myth to be very interesting. It is not a substitute for reading the myths themselves, and for this, Hamilton does mention the authors and, sometimes, the play or poem. I would recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Book May 1 2003
By Arash
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is great for young people or beginner, but I do not recommend it to people with more than a passing interest in Mythology. The stories are well written but very brief. "The Trojan War", "the Adventures of Oddyseus" and "The Hunt for the Golden Fleece" were long when compared with the other stories, but still short, though very well written.
The chapter about the norse mythology was completely unnecessary. A bit was written about Odin and a summary of the story of Signy and Sigurd.
This book made me bacome interested in mythology, so buying is not a complete waste of money. It's cheap and it's interesting for beginners.
Quite good!
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Pas intérressant
Je m'attendais à une sorte d'histoire mais pas à un genre d'encyclopédie. alors c'est plus un livre didactique ou de référence.
Published 20 months ago by Alain Fournier
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!!
The book was pretty objectively written with a slight tint - here and there - of personal opinion and attitude towards certain beliefs. Read more
Published on July 28 2012 by inford34
5.0 out of 5 stars Greek Roman Mythology.
Excellent book on Greek and Roman mythology. The storytelling is well done to capture the reader. I personally own two copies. Read more
Published on July 16 2012 by Michel
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Overview of Greek Mythology
In my opinion, mythology is a very interesting subject that helps us better understand past cultures' lifestyles and many of the stories are extremely enjoyable. Read more
Published on July 15 2004 by Eric Blanton
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Reading Experience!
I have been interested in Mythology for quite some time now, and when one of my teachers mentioned a voluntary summer class on mythology with no credit offerred I was quite... Read more
Published on May 25 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars napa high millionwordproject
Mythology by Edith Hamilton is a wonderful book for anyone who loves the stories of gods and heroes as much as I do. Read more
Published on May 16 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars NAPAHIGH STUDENT million word report
Mythology by Edith Hamilton is a wonderful book for anyone who loves the stories of gods and heroes as much as I do. Read more
Published on May 16 2004 by MICHAEL T. STOLTZ
1.0 out of 5 stars Booring!!!!!!
This is one of the most booring books i have ever read! ONLY read it if you are forced to for school...Why is this book considered a classic? Got me!
Published on Feb. 28 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Greek Myth Encyclopedia
Edith Hamilton's "Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes" is a very easy to access reference to most of the myths of Ancient Greece. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2003 by Vagabond77
2.0 out of 5 stars Well...
I had to read this for my AP English class and I probably wouldn't have continued to read it after the first couple of pages if it hadn't been required. Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2003 by Katie Westfall
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