Here are some suggestions for books and travel guides if you would like to read up on Greece, the Islands of the Greek Dodecanese, and the region’s archaeology. The books are in no particular recommended order, and are not required reading!
UK visitors interested in purchasing these books, may click on the main title. US visitors wishing to buy, please click on ‘USA’
The Greek Islands General
Blue Guide Greece: The Aegean Islands Nigel McGilchrist, Heinrich Hall, and Michael Metcalfe – The guide contains detailed information on all aspects of the islands: early history, archaeology, Classical and Byzantine art and architecture and much more.
The Greek Islands: A Guide to the Byzantine and Medieval Buildings and their Art IN USA Paul Hetherington – Slightly dry, but wonderfully informative. It includes every island we will be visiting on this tour.
Athens, Attica and the Megarid: An Archaeological Guide IN USA Hans Rupprecht Goette – Dry and dauntingly heavy, but packed with up-to-date information on every archaeological site great and small within this limited area of mainland Greece. Simply brilliant.
Blue Guide: Athens Robin Barber – Barber knows Athens back-to-front, and has a wonderful writing style and dry sense of humour. An excellent small book for carrying around the streets.
Peripatoi: Athens Walks IN USA David Rupp – A very well-chosen series of walks through the heart of the modern city, packed with information on all things ancient through modern. An excellent choice if you prefer to organise your own walks, rather than join an organised walking tour.
The Acropolis: The New Acropolis Museum IN USA Katerina Servi – a look at the history of Athens and the Acropolis presented through informative, easy to read texts in a fully illustrated edition with colour representations and detailed site plans.
The Archaeology of Athens IN USA John M Camp – Wonderfully well-illustrated, an invaluable guide to exploring the monumental history of Athens.
Greek History IN USA Robin Osborne – The best short introduction to the history of Ancient Greece.
Greek Architecture IN USA Arnold Lawrence – A great introduction.
Constructing the Ancient World: Architectural Techniques of the Greeks and Romans IN USA Carmelo Malacrino – is a good introduction to the engineering skills and prowess that we will be marvelling at on this tour.
Byzantine Art IN USA Robin Cormack – a descriptive and analytical discourse on this complex and interesting subject.
A Concise History of Byzantium 285-1461 IN USA Warren Treadgold – An accessible and concise introduction to the Byzantine Empire.
A Concise History of Greece IN USA Richard Clogg – Informative, humorous and succinct overview of Modern Greek history.
Twice a Stranger: the Mass Expulsions that Forged Modern Greece and Turkey IN USA Bruce Clark – The most rigorous account of the harrowing events that created modern Greece and Turkey.
The Orthodox Church IN USA Timothy Ware (Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia) – This book is the best single volume introduction to the Orthodox Church, written by one of its foremost theologians.
Greece & Islands Guidebooks
Blue Guide Greece: The Mainland Sherry Marker & James Pettifer – Does not include the Greek islands, but has an excellent introduction to Greece, its culture, history and architecture (although not quite as good as that written in earlier editions of this series, by Robin Barber).
The Rough Guide to Greek Islands IN USA Lance Chilton et al.
The Rough Guide to Greece IN USA Lance Chilton et al.
Greece: Lonely Planet IN USA Korina Miller.
The Cyclades; or, Life Among the Insular Greeks IN USA James Theodore Bent – Reprint of Bent’s famous 1885 publication. Though dated, the book remains fascinating, being a travelogue as well as a historical, archaeological, geographic and ethnographic study all rolled into one.
Greek Novels and Literature
The quantity and quality of literature concerning Greece and its peoples grows by the day. In addition to the traditional greats, such as Nikos Kazantzakis (the author of “Zorba the Greek” amongst much else) and Constantine Cavafy (the celebrated poet who was born in Alexandria to Greek parents) there are the first hand accounts of travels, adventures and observations by e.g. Lawrence Durrell (his Reflections on a Marine Venus in particular) and Patrick Leigh Fermor (often described as the greatest travel writer of the 20th century), the historical novels set mainly in the Ancient or Byzantine worlds by e.g. Mary Renault and Gillian Bradshaw, and the gritty stories of life in modern Athens by e.g. Panos Karnezis. In short, there is something Greek-flavoured for every set of taste buds.
Reflections on a Marine Venus IN USA Lawrence Durrell.
Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece IN USA Patrick Leigh Fermor.
Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese IN USA Patrick Leigh Fermor.
A Place of Healing for the Soul: Patmos IN USA Peter France.
The Summer of my Greek Taverna IN USA Tom Stone.
Zorba the Greek IN USA Nikos Kazantzakis.
The Praise Singer IN USA Mary Renault.
The Collected Poems of C.P.Cavafy: A New Translation IN USA Constantine Cavafy.
Sun’s Bride IN USA Gillian Bradshaw.
The Maze IN USA Panos Karnezis.