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on November 7, 2002
This review will focus upon the translation of "The Odyssey" more than the work itself. Having withstood the test of time and considered the first great work of the Western tradition, "The Odyssey" can do well enough without my two cents.
This translation is among the most accurate on the market. Though I speak no Greek myself, classics professors have urged me to read this translation, the best English source for it. Despite the usual popularity for the Fitzgerald translation, the Lattimore version provides a more literal translation with consistent themes of word choice running throughout. "They put their hands to the good things that lay ready before them," for example, will come up over and over again because, quite simply, the phrase comes up over and over again. And we have the same adjectives consistently before each of the major players: resourceful Odysseus, thoughtful Telemachos, and circumspect Penelope, along with the gray-eyed Athene. Lattimore explains how he chooses to translate the work, and his translation is a literal work of a genius.
For those who desire the most accurate translation of this great work, I would highly recommend the Lattimore translation of "The Odyssey of Homer."
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on February 15, 2000
If you are trying to plough through the Canon, then this book is the next stop after the Iliad. And what a stop it is! Although I think that the Iliad is a better read, the Odyssey is an excellent sequel and a very good story too. Want to know whether Odysseus returned from Troy, and how? Want to know which other heroes made it? Want to catch up with a few of them, dead or alive, on the way? If so then this is the book for you.
Lattimore's translation is excellent and highly recommended. Anyone who enjoyed his Iliad will find the same brilliance at work here.
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on December 15, 2009
If you glance at this book and notice that all the lines are written as verses, do not be alarmed, the verses are not difficult to understand. Lattimore's translation of Homer's The Odyssey is probably the best that you shall ever find, and it seems to remain truthful to the original, yet does not make it hard on the readers to understand.

I highly recommend this edition for anyone interested in reading this epic.
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on June 25, 2003
When I was a younger lad, I bought Richard Lattimore's translation, which is a grandiose bore. Then I had the good fortune to read Mandelbaum's Aeneid, which shines. This brought me to Mandelbaum's Odyssey. And it is the ideal Odyssey for scholarship and pleasure:
-The language is simple and strong. Mandelbaum knows his job--he tells the story simply and brings the ancient genius of Homer through with vigor and clarity. Occasionally Mandelbaum goes on a stint of rhyme and that's distracting, but overall the translation is beautiful.
-There's a well-drawn map of Ancient Greece in the beginning that really sets the scene for the wild sea adventures.
-One of the complaints I often hear about epics is that the many characters are difficult to keep straight. Mandelbaum solves this by giving us a comprehensive glossary in the back of the book that explains who everyone is and lists the page numbers of where they occur in the book.
-Another thing makes this a swift read is that, at the beginning of each book, Mandelbaum gives a quick summary of what's about to happen (a fantastic feature for reference and review).
Thus, with the book summaries, the glossary, and the map, you always know where you are in the epic--so while Odysseus wanders, you are never lost.
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on January 29, 2001
This Lattimore translation of "The Odyssey" was the first book I read last quarter for my Comparative Literature class, and it became a preview of coming wonders. I had neglected the old classics out of ignorance and prejudice (these two tend to go together) and "The Odyssey" was one of those books that forced me to look at an entire collection of genres and literary epochs in a different, far more positive way. I do not know Greek, therefore I cannot say whether the translation is absolutely faithful to the original, but it flows well when read silently and it sounds even better when I read it aloud, alone at night. This is the story of Odysseus, King of Ithaka, Captain of the Greeks, who must return to his homeland and his family after helping defeat the Trojans. Amazingly enough, many people seem to have bought entirely into the idea of Odysseus as a noble, courageous, and honorable leader of men who gets sidetracked solely because of the wrath of Poseidon. I finished this poem with an entirely different view of its protagonist. To me, Odysseus was an arrogant liar, a murderer and a rapist who did not hesitate to attack people who were not his enemies (the Kikonians on his way back after sacking Troy and killing and/or enslaving most of its people, as reads in Book IX, page 138), and who did not hesitate to endanger the lives of his men just to boast of his deeds (same Book, page 150). This "hero" eventually makes it to Ithaka and ends up drenched in the blood of the suitors of his wife, ordering the torture and death of the serving women who had become lovers of the suitors. His son Telemachos becomes a murderer as well: he kills a man by stabbing him on the back with a javelin. Since the suitors represented the youth of Ithaka's noble families, Odysseus has arranged to create a blood feud with everyone on the island. Only the intervention of Athena will save the day, and after all the bloodshed, all the lies, the pillaging, and the murders, he leaves Ithaka and Penelope once more to wander in other lands and thus follow a prophecy regarding his own death.
"The Odyssey" is a great poem. It is never boring and only after reading it complete one understands how little the film and TV productions kept of the original work, and how poorly we have been served with such adaptations. My reading of this timeless classic is rather different to that of other people who may have much better qualifications in this area. What I got out of it was the impression that Homer, whomever he was, used irony to drive home a message regarding his "hero," and this irony, together with the folklore that surrounded the Trojan War and its participants, helped Euripides, by the Fifth century BC, paint a far more direct and damaging picture of the Greek victors in his "Trojan Women."
I now consider "The Odyssey" necessary reading. Even if you read it and arrive to a different understanding of the poem, I think it will be an extremely valuable experience.
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on April 27, 2000
Unlike many readers of Homer's works, I read this for entertainment purposes only. I did not cripple my enjoyment of the story by evaluating the structure or rythm of the verse although that is one of the marvels of the original. If you are one who is required to read the Odyssey for a class assignment, I believe you will find that this translation (although printed to look like verse) is extremely readable. However, to fully appreciate the story-line, I recommend researching the Greek and Roman gods prior to reading the Odyssey (I found 'Mythology' by Edith Hamilton to be very concise yet comprehensive.) Furthermore, tackling the Iliad prior to the Odyssey is also desirable in order to understand the references to the Trojan War where Odysseus spent the first 10 years of his trials away from Ithaca.
Of the three major works that can probably be described as a trilogy (Virgil's Aeneid being the third), the Odyssey is the most readable due to its 'traveling action'. The Iliad and Aeneid action scenes are primarily battle fields with much description of each individual spear thrust/throw. The Odyssey is much more enjoyable since Odysseus travels all around the Mediteranean with one adventure after another.
Another note is about the ending of this story. I will not give anything away, but as far as the three epic poems mentioned in this review, the Odyssey has a very conclusive end whereas the Iliad and Aeneid come to an end-of-sorts, but there is still much that is left unfinished.
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on February 1, 2000
First of all, this book was a great addition to my knowledge. I have read a great amount of books.......well this one tops them all. Yes, it was hard to understand...with the big words and, but I managed. To anyone reading this I think that this book was monumental, tragic, inticing, and at some points boring. That is why I think you should buy this book...add to your knowledge. Go on it won't hurt you.
Author of this review, Michael S. Cartee
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on April 20, 2004
As with his work on the Iliad, few translators have had the success that Richmond Lattimore has when it comes to THE ODYSSEY. I would be hard pressed to find a better translation since others are either too literal to be poetic or too liberal to be faithful to Homer's story. Alexander Pope's is, of course, one of the greatest, but you have to go back 250 years to find one as enduring as Lattimore's.
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on October 26, 2015
Excellent translation, with all the repetitious "rosy-fingered dawn"s and "wine-dark sea"s and "wiley Odysseus"s. I had previously slogged through a prose translation. This was much better. You could feel the rhythm. I'm sure it also didn't hurt that I read it while Island hopping around Greece!
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on January 28, 2016
this story was meant to be heard and not read so reading the book version (versus audio version) just not as good. If you've already heard the audio version, and want to read it, great, otherwise, do that first.

The story itself is superb, but this is not the right medium for it
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