School Library JournalGr 7-10-These titles place the profiled figures within their milieus, carefully detailing the broad political situations and the historical circumstances within which they lived. This scene setting is particularly important in the case of Solon, about whom relatively little is known, including which of the laws and reforms attributed to him are truly Solonic. But even with Cleisthenes and Themistocles, much of the literary data comes from much later times and must be compared against the archaeological record and weighed against common sense. None of the authors shies away from reporting conflicting sources (and telling what those sources are) or from explaining how historians gather and question evidence. Thus, all three titles introduce students to the strictures by which ancient "history" is assembled after the fact. The authors are careful to delve into the struggles between classes and the efforts of Solon and Cleisthenes to improve living conditions for the nonaristocrats while not completely alienating those used to power. Themistocles's fame is owed chiefly to his military skills, thus providing the author an opportunity to cover significant battles against the Persians with some detail. Full-color photographs are combined with reproductions of Greek art and modern reconstructions to expand the texts. These excellent-quality biographies should be welcome additions to most libraries.-Coop Renner, Hillside Elementary, El Paso, TX Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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