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"Hughes considers serially all the ways in which the ancients influenced their environment. He describes each aspect thoroughly, using ancient literature, archaeology, and ecological evidence to paint a picture of degeneration through overuse and lack of attention to consequences... The author's personal recollections enliven the text, and a comprehensive bibliography provides entrance to further research."

"Hughes deserves great praise for updating a valuable overview of the problems ancient Greeks and Romans caused and faced within the natural environment of the Mediterranean basin. His work gives the undergraduate or non-specialist in particular a new view of the ancient world that will enrich her or his understanding of classical antiquity."

"A significant contribution to understanding the relationship between classical civilization in the Mediterranean Basin and its contemporary natural environment during the period from 800 B.C. to 600 A.D.... Worthwhile and thought-provoking reading."

"A compelling recital of man's mistreatment of the Mediterranean environment."

"This backward glance at glorious civilizations—now vanished, in part, because they neglected the long-term limits of their growth—should serve as an object lesson to those who argue that goodwill and technical ingenuity alone can sustain societies indefinitely."