which books are really good for understanding the history of what period? Ie, if someone wanted to innoculate himself with history painlessly, even pleasantly, what would be the best novels for what period, and how reliable? And you don’t have to get as technical as I do—it just happens to be kind of a borderline period.
I’ll start with:
BRONZE AGE GREECE:
Mary Renault: *The King Must Die.* Covers pre-Greeks (Minoan era) and proto-Greeks (early invasion of Minoan-held territory by northern tribes). [futzy explanation: there were 2 invasions from the north---more or less population drift, rather than line-up-at-the-border and charge type invasions: Wave A and Wave B. Wave A was the era of most Greek legends, and the Trojan War; it also includes the fall of Minoan power and the rise of Wave A Greeks: ie, the Theseus legend, which is the subject of this book. ---
A footnote just for those of you who, out of pure curiosity, would like to know what Wave B was: Wave B is the Spartans and their ilk, different accent, same language, many similarities to the Romans, who arrived in Italy close to the same time. Wave B Greeks are not in this book.]