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A very good history of six key periods in the history of the Roman Republic and Empire. I understand from its preface that it accompanied a BBC TV series but I must have missed it. I am not sure that that I would have picked the same periods but that is a personal choice; the corollary and benefit to this is that I learned something new in some of them.
The six periods are: the agrarian reforms of Tiberius Gracchus; Caesar vs Pompey; the rule of Nero; the Jewish revolt (Tiberius, Josephus); Constantine and Christianity; and the decline and fall (Stilicho, Alaric, Attila).
Whilst not as detailed and, perhaps, less thrilling, as Tom Holland where they overlap (Caesar, Nero) this is good and very readable/listenable narrative history
A concise, yet comprehensive overview of the history of Rome. Does not dwell too long on a particular era and offers balanced views and assessment of the sources available. Well read. I will definitely be listening to it again in full, in the future, having just completed it.
Obviously, it is impossible to cover everything about Rome in one book. However, this book did a good job of covering a lot of the highlights. recommended
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Simon Baker tells the story of Ancient Rome by focusing on a series of dramatic turning points. These turning points are surprisingly well-documented, and Baker describes them with gusto. The Gracchi brothers, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Constantine, and Stilicho (somebody I'd never heard of) all spring to life. Baker's usual technique is to set the scene with a gripping anecdote and then go back and fill in the background and context.
It probably wouldn't pass muster as a general survey, but it served my purposes. My grasp of Roman history was weak, informed mostly by Shakespeare and Ridley Scott. It's still not strong, but at least now I have a framework to use for further exploration.
Chris MacDonnell narrates clearly and with sustained energy. I look forward to hearing other books that he narrated.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful