Arete is the ancient Greek word for excellence or virtue. In his work by that name, author Zenius goes back to the ancients–and beyond–to discover what has made for excellence in civilization and what is needed for human survival to continue.
A professional engineer in the highway industry for 35 years, Zenius attempts a grandiose journey through time and space, offering a wide-ranging review of world history and concluding with lists of stars and nebulae. The volume includes chapters on astronomy, philosophy, the professions of man, art, and sports (replete with a side excursion to the Green Bay Packers’ 1967 “Ice Bowl”).
As may be obvious from this description, due to the many topics covered, the book’s main points are lost in a swirl of disconnected ideas and information. It also suffers from technical flaws. In epic fashion, Zenius begins his opus magnum, “One of the objectives of this work is to open the door to those parts of our past that a proper documentation has not been done for . . .” Ironically, he offers no in-text documentation for his own assertions, as well as no index to help readers find their way to various names and subjects, and a bibliography of a mere six or seven entries (run together in unorthodox paragraph form), which include the likes of The Secret of the Hittites.
At the end of this ambitious odyssey, Zenius invites us to look ahead, as he calls for “establishing a new academic institution, created in the spirit of Athenaic Philosophy . . . [and] new world government.” Readers will find, however, that Zenius has failed to offer a sufficiently compelling argument to justify following him into the future.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.