I confess that when I agreed to review Odysseus Unbound… I expected it to be another coffee-table adornment, brimming with dramatic full-color photographs of locales Mediterranean and farther a-sea, but not likely to convince where so many others have failed… This superficial impression does not survive even the “Acknowledgements” pages…
Bittlestone has used his organizational and analytical talents to great effect in producing a wonderful book based on a copious array of literary, historical, linguistic, geographical, geological, and archaeological evidence. He then takes his readers on a thoroughly engrossing tour of the Paliki peninsula in search of these venues — the palace of Odysseus, the deep harbor, Phorcys Bay, Eumaeus’s pig farm, Raven’s Rock, etc.
It is not possible in a short review to convey how methodically both textual and topographic evidence are harmonized in Bittlestone’s riveting argument. His case for equating Paliki with Ithaca is breathtakingly cogent. Site after site is shown to jibe with the details of Homer’s narrative.
A luxuriant assortment of maps, on-site photographs, stratigraphic charts, and satellite imagery reinforces the lines of reasoning throughout.Finally, I must stress how enjoyable this book is to read. Bittlestone infects the reader with the same excitement he and those he enlisted in his search felt in delightful vistas of Odyssean lands and seas.