A History of Trust in Ancient Greece.
University of Chicago Press, Chicago / London, 2011. XII,242p. Original amber cloth with dust wrps. Steven Johnstone has written a stimulating, if curious, book on trust in classical Greece. Across seven substantive chapters the author covers a series of seemingly disparate topics - all without so much as mentioning the word pistis. The result is a historical lipogram: an anthropological archaeology of the practices, but not the discourse, of trust. This is also a timely book; current events (cf., e.g., Losing Faith in American Institutions) and the recent interest in ancient institutional analysis makes trust, and in particular 'impersonal trust', or 'the ways that abstract systems allow people to routinely interact, even with strangers, as if they trusted one another', (2) a subject of prime importance to anyone interested in the development, successes, and failures of political, economic, and legal institutions, ancient or modern. (...) In sum, this is an important and thought-provoking book, but more of a prolegomenon to the history of trust in classical Greece than that history itself. But all histories must begin somewhere, and so we are indebted to Johnstone’s ingenuity and effort in blazing the difficult trail of this hitherto neglected history.' (DAVID M. RATZAN in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2012.09.04).