Item description for Who Killed Homer?: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom by Victor Davis Hanson & John Heath...
Overview "Who Killed Homer?" is a blistering indictment of college administrators and classicists who have compromised scholarly standards for both professors and students, from whom deep, rigorous learning is no longer expected.
With straightforward advice and informative readings of the great Greek texts, the authors show how we might still save classics and the Greeks for future generations. Who Killed Homer? is must reading for anyone who agrees that knowledge of classics acquaints us with the beauty and perils of our own culture.
Citations And Professional Reviews Who Killed Homer?: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom by Victor Davis Hanson & John Heath has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Reference and Research Bk News - 08/01/2001 page 212
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Reviews - What do customers think about Who Killed Homer?: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom?
True -- I have been there Jul 19, 2008
If I had the money, I would give financial aid to any entering graduate student in the field of Classics who read and discussed this book. My only regret about WKH? is that it escaped my notice for ten years. As I told my wife, I felt that the book had been written about my own experience, or that I had actually written it myself. On almost every page it now has numerous highlights and many margin notes, some as simple as "Amen!"
The authors make a strong, clear case for the value of Greek and Roman thought in the modern age. Along the way they make much deserved attacks on the academic institution of America's institutions, with its obscure and pointless writings, emphasis on fringe issues, general failure to embody the values of what it claims to teach. I can agree wholeheartedly with almost everything the authors say because I have been there. The issues they attack, and even some of the very professors whom they charge with dereliction of academic duty, served to end my own pursuit of a Ph.D. in Classics some years ago thanks to their focus on things that did not truly matter.
If you want an encomium of Greco-Roman learning, if you want solid reasons why the Greeks and Romans matter very much today, this book is required reading. If you want to know what really goes on in higher education, whether before sending your own child off to study or whether deciding if you want to go yourself, then you must read WKH?. For once I am keeping the review short. You don't need to read me, you need to read Who Killed Homer?.
Important to understand Apr 25, 2008
It is important for all Americans to understand from which ancient cultures this country was ultimately formed. The government we live under, our way of life, our views about things good and bad were ultimately the result of Greek thinking. Not Chinese, not Persian, but Greek and to some extent Hebrew. In this age history is devalued to the point where it seems we don't even wish to understand our origins. Certainly other cultures have contributed to the American miracle but we MUST understand the Greeks and Romans in order to understand where we have been and where we are going. The picture these two authors paint of the Greeks isn't always a cheery one. They made mistakes, a lot of them, but since our nature was their nature we need to understand them in order to avoid their mistakes. That's really all the authors are saying.
The (Losing) Battle for the Western LOGOS Dec 13, 2007
Victor Davis Hanson(renowned American military historian/philosopher of ilk of John Keegan)and his colleague John Heath have written devastating critique of the DECONSTRUCTION/collapse of Western Canon in philosophy and literature as its seminal roots comprise in The history,culture,LOGOS of Greece(classical Hellas).Logos is an architecture of Thought & Being which...in effect...subtends and entire world view: ONTOLOGY~(definition of The PERSON);ETHICS~(what comprises RIGHT & Wrong...ultimately GOOD & EVIL and how a person therefore OUGHT to act);& EPISTEMOLOGY~(what comprises essence of TRUTH:facts that may be validated/tested empirically leading subsequently to bodies of KNOWLEDGE(termed Logoi)and most practically WHAT kind of schools we have;what is taught;and who allowed to go there)...
Heraclitus (Father of History...whose enemies scorned "father of Lies)declared Logos to be the Principle of Order & Intelligibility: effectively the framework of an entire Civilization. ROMAN LAW(Lex:legis-Legions-Lux/Light)enforced much molding and transmittal of Greek Thought(specifically THE INDIVIDUAL with radically inherent freedom and responsibilities to the Polis/community). JUDAEO/CHRISTINAITY tempered "Law" with mercy.It expanded individual's person(prosopon)from "only"Greek(male)--others were barbarians/ babblers--or Roman civis to..."All"(Jews & Gentiles~ brothers & sisters under ONE Father,God ).Hanson and Heath focus on The Greek construct of LOGOS(as their body of thought regarding MAN;HIS MEASURE & TELOS~ purpose)as seminal pillar(of the three prongs mentioned)upon which WESTERN CIVILIZATION has evolved and continues to(shakily)rest...
The body of the essay describes POST-MODERN Deconstruction of the Western Logos by academic hacks,careerists and mediocrities.These "dwarfs," standing on the shoulders of giants,"ironically have dedicated themselves to undermining,if not destroying,making outright inaccessible, the BODY OF KNOWLEDGE they are entrusted to preserve and transmit. Reasons for this betrayal by should-be,Keepers of the Flame are many yet singularly disreputable. If our authors(H&H)are to be credited:the essential reason for this inside-job assault on foundations of Western learning and thought is:RANK ENVY and sly "elitism" that despises the very pupils to be taught.Politically Correct "curriculum" agendas are fundamentally involved in this "intellectual" attack on The Western Way. Names like Derrida(sort of Jacques Clouseau of PM philosophy that asserts there is no Truth only textual/cultural""differences""(???));Michel Foucault, French de-constructionist who "deconstructed" himself deliberately contracting AIDS in SAN FRANCISCO bath houses trying to prove Jails and sexual ontology were foundational anti-logoi of "society"; Nazi philosophe, Martin Heidegger comes into "renown" as intellectual totalitarian who claims there are no Truths only "referent-opinion" based on Power and(ab)use of Language(House of Being).ARISTOTLE said reality is OUSIA~Substance-things,being qua being.To these winners add very desperate Feminist ideologues and Stanley Fish' theories on Books: (nothing/no text means "anything" outside itself unless IMPERIAL READER condignly confers meaning).
Enough. Page after page of examples...cited texts...of unreadable, Alice-in-Wonderland nonsensical interpretations of Classics of Greek Philosophy,history,mythology and literature are subjected to jargon-filled atomization by university-sponsored pseudo-Brahman professoriate whose fundamental purpose is not only NOT to TEACH would be student-acolytes; but to turn some of the most profound and interesting material ever created into drivel and unmitigated,unreadable dreck.
According to Hanson & Heath,these modern day barbarians-pirates have succeeded. H &H detail collapse of CLASSICS departments around the nation(with consequential result of fundamental Greek and LATIN no longer taught in most colleges and High Schools).Who cares,right? Let's pretend Cleopatra was Black.That idea of Greek poloi(persons);mesopoloi(middle class);actually came from Persia(or Egypt or Mars).WHO KILLED HOMER? HOMER SIMPSON,you mean? The King of the Hill or the HOM(ER)IES FROM SOUTH PARK. The book is not shrill as its guilty enemies(they are many~secure in anti-Winnie-the-Pooh 50 Acre Wood university-tenured caves). LOVE of KNOWLEDGE has been traded for the Volvo;the Mimosa(with unnecessarily expensive champaign)and thirty pieces of low grade silver coated copper.
Victor Davis Hanson told me as a recent guest lecturer at Univ.of St.Thomas Houston:rank monetary envy;and lack of acclaim for bitter MIRROR/MIRROR/on the WALL inbreds is reason why PM's academic mercenaries killed their own leader.The war they were supposed to fight to defend THE GREAT WESTERN LOGOS begins with The ILIAD.(It mythically comprises an entire civilization of values and heroism.)They gave up or sold-out.So most of our kids grow-up thinking THE ODYSSEY is punk-rock band. Like it was said to Augustine~TAKE AND READ(7 stars)
Flipping burgers and driving taxis Apr 18, 2007
Victor David Hanson's and John Heath's devastating expose of the Anglo classicist establishment, 'Who Killed Homer? - The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom' (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2001. ISBN 1893554260) is a book which infuriated classicists because - and as an ex-academic myself I can vouch for this - what it tells us about them and about their utterly baleful influence on our culture happens to be true.
Classicists as a class are here accused of being idle, arrogant, greedy, irresponsible, amoral careerists. They are cads who care little if anything for Greek thought and who have nothing but the most extreme contempt, not only for the general public which pays their salaries, but even for their students since they would rather disburden themselves of the distasteful task of teaching by passing it to an underclass of slaves known as 'graduate teaching assistants' while (when not gadding about the world on an endless round of international 'conferences,' i.e. mutual back-slapping canape-munching cocktail-slurping gabfests) they themselves engage in what they fondly describe as 'research' (i.e. the scribbling of esoteric monographs on utterly trivial matters which no-one is ever going to read) since they would blanch at the thought of actually doing something useful.
The laziness, greed, and arrogance of these elitists have pretty well destroyed the classics as a subject of study and hence as a profession. Many of their former colleagues and most of their ex-students are now flipping burgers or driving taxis, and I think one may confidently predict that it won't be long before the remainder of this elite are looking for similar work since no society can be expected to indefinitely support such a useless class of parasites.
Since their collective efforts have helped to effectively undermine and destroy the foundations of Western Civilization, the demise of classical education being simply one facet of the larger ongoing demise of the West, one wonders if they will perhaps feel a twinge of remorse for what they have done when the tentacles of the New Dark Age they have helped to spawn reach out to coil about them ...?
Classics are Essential to Citizenship Sep 4, 2006
Pick up any copy of the Federalist Papers, the articles addressed to the citizens of New York in 1787 on the subject of the Constitution, and you will find unmistakable references to Republican Rome. The authors of the Federalist Papers (and the framers of the Constitution), Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, each had a Classical education which shaped the core of their philosophy.
Why then, is Classical education gradually disappearing from high schools and colleges? Why do teachers and professors refer to Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Thucydides, Tacitus and others as "dead White males?" Authors Victor Davis Hanson and John Heath explore these questions in their book, Who Killed Homer.
Hanson and Heath do a good job of explaining the Greek and Roman origins of American political thought, and convincingly warn that our citizens are rapidly becoming illiterate about the ideas that gave birth to modern republican government and free market economics. The authors perform a public service, putting together reading lists of Classical authors, and discussing interpretations of key writings by Classical authors that demonstrate the undeniable Greek origins of Western civilization.
The authors also offer a explanation for the demise of Classical learning -- academic careerism, and to a lesser extent, ideology have polluted the pure teaching of the Classics. While plausible, this argument often degenerates into mud-slinging, as Hanson and Heath settle scores with scholars whom they accuse of destroying their field. Sometimes, the score-settling gets out of hand, as Hanson and Heath specifically name the scholars they are criticizing, and even accuse one scholar of literally hounding another to his grave. This gossipy material actually detracts from their argument and is not appropriate for the audience the authors are trying to reach.
This book would be more effective if the authors did not take so much time focusing on their opponents and critics and instead stuck to the principles of their argument. The Classics are an essential part of any high school and college curriculum. Our democracy cannot hope to survive on a steady diet of Oprah, the NFL and reality TV.