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Mary Beard has a friendly, informal style that makes this book much more palatable then many others. It discusses at length various aspects of Roman life as illustrated or suggested by Roman remains, particularly in Pompeii of course, backed up by literary and other sources. It is not afraid to say when it is guessing, nor to disagree with the theories of others, and gives the impression of a common sense approach, including using 'bad language' when translating Roman graffiti. The book covers a lot of interesting material, and is both informative and entertaining in a way that all history books should seek to match.
The reader does an excellent job of both reading the text well yet retaining a slightly informal, almost chatty style which works perfectly with the book. Flawlessly read, I found her very easy to listen to and ideally suited to the job. Certainly a book well worth hearing if you have any interest in the ordinary lives and loves of our ancient ancestors.
37 of 37 people found this review helpful
Mary Beard is of course a renowned classicist, but while you might think that would make her a reclusive, anti-charismatic genius-type, in fact she has been gifted with an incredible ability to express herself, and to entertain while educating. Her demagogic talent seems to transfer almost unpolluted to paper, and from there back to speech. The style of this book is bordering on conversational, so that you feel neither baffled nor patronised. A perfect listen for long journeys, quick revision or bed-bound, and a genuinely enjoyable one.
51 of 53 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about Pompeii - The Life of a Roman Town?
An well researched well written piece of detailed history about what it was like to live in Pompeii in the lead up to it being buried under the ash and lava from the volcanic eruption. The author debunks many of the popular myths about life in Pompeii and Roman life generally as she bases her story about the town on detailed archaeological and contempory document evidence.
She covers every facet of life in town, what the roads would have been like, the local politics, the everyday life of the rich and poor.
A very interesting history, well written and well read.
Any additional comments?
A solid history book with good narration. This would be a tough slog unless you have a genuine interest in Roman history. This would best be reviewed before or after a visit to the town itself.