"Abridged editions...are intended for use in the classroom, so the target audience is teachers who would rather not bother culling passages from lengthier texts. Convenience, therefore, is a real selling factor, even if the editorial decisions are sometimes questionable-even frustrating...Johnson's edition has clear advantages (though it is slightly more expensive). For one thing, it includes a larger selection from Herodotus than the Shirley/Romm edition. In addition, unlike Shirley/Romm, Johnson supplements the text with a number of pedagogically useful figures, tables, and maps. Johnson's translation is clear and engaging, and his footnotes...supplement well Herodotus's historical narrative. All in all, The Essential Herodotus is a very nice edition of the Histories.
It will appeal mainly to classicists and humanities instructors seeking a compact, translated edition of Herodotus for classroom use." --F. A. Grabowski, CHOICE
"This well-judged selection and charming translation splendidly brings out the variety and delights of Herodotus's text. It embraces not only the famous battle accounts (Marathon, Salamis) but also the less familiar, equally captivating ethnographic narratives, from the marvels of Lydia to the romantic liaisons of Amazons and Sauromatae and the Scythians' cannabis use. Helpful subtitles and introductions to each section will prove invaluable to the general reader who is encountering Herodotus for the first time."--Emily Baragwanath, University of North Carolina
"The Essential Herodotus allows the reader to travel the ancient world with a Greek storyteller, investigator, and historian, whose range of interests was all encompassing, and who was a keen observer of the human condition in its physical and cultural environment. Johnson's sensitive comments justify his selections from Herodotus's history and show its unity of themes and literary richness."--Joseph Roisman, Colby College
"The selections reflect the wide-ranging nature of Herodotus's inquiries; the notes are concise, on-point, and informative, especially regarding major themes and historical method; and the lively and engaging translation retains the archaic storytelling features, the conversational tone, and the narrative brilliance of the original. This book will be extremely useful for anyone who teaches ancient Greek history or culture courses."--Christoper A. Baron, University of Notre Dame
"Professor Johnson succeeds in presenting the full range of Herodotus's interests (not just history as we know it, but history juxtaposed with and informed by ethnography, geography, primeval legend, and contemporary scientific debate) in a translation that is accurate, clear, and engaging."--Charles C. Chiasson, University of Texas at Arlington
"William A. Johnson's The Essential Herodotus is a pleasurable and honest alternative for anyone not at leisure to read the massive original. It exposes the reader to the same marvellous variety of materials while remaining completely faithful to the historian's overarching concern, the Greco-Persian War and its causes. Thus, the reader experiences all the domains of Herodotus's research: foreign customs, folk traditions, storytelling, natural wonders and human marvels, divine forces obscurely present in human affairs, reflections on historical method, and of course wartime deeds both glorious and terrible. And Johnson's translation preserves all the charm of the Greek--its elegance, its frequent conversational tone, and its sly naïveté."--James Andrews, Ohio University
"Johnson has chosen his selections from the Histories very well; readers will gain from these selections an excellent impression of the content and nature of Herodotus's work as a whole. The comments that Johnson offers on Herodotean motifs, themes, and recurring patterns, moreover, are outstanding--some of the best such comments I have ever read in a translation of the Histories. Armed with a knowledge of such patterns, readers should be well-quipped to appreciate Herodotus' achievement as a historian, thinker, and literary artist."--David Branscome, Florida State University