The Greeks is the story of a culture that has contributed more than any other to the way we live today in the West. The way we think, the way we learn; the forms of entertainment we seek and the systems by which we allow ourselves to be ruled - all of this finds its roots in a small group of people who first emerged in Mycenae over 3,000 years ago.

It is a story that covers the entire globe and four millennia, from the mythical 'Age of the Heroes' to the complex European state of today. For all the fame of the Greek Byzantine Empire and the glorifications of the ancient culture during the Renaissance, this is not a simple, victorious history of a single enduring culture. It is littered with peril and disasters, with oppression and near obliteration. It is a story of scatterings and refuge, where only innovations (most tellingly, their invention of the alphabet and a gift for seafaring) allowed the Greek culture of today to survive and flourish once more.

But is 'survive' the right word? This enrapturing story is also a lesson: that even the world's most celebrated and ancient cultures were forever in flux, forged by currents of history, immigration and resource crises, an ever-changing blend of myriad, diverse cultures. In today's age of rising nationalism, in Greece and the wider Western world, this epic sweeping history becomes crucial reading.