Guy De La Bedoyere might be familiar to some for his infrequent appearances on Channel 4's Time Team. He is both a historian and an archaeologist, and therefore has some sound grounding in both fields, which is not to mention that he has already published thirteen books on this subject.
This title however is a New History of Roman Britain, making full use of some of the recent archaeological discoveries made in the field, as well as the most relevant discussions amongst historians and scholars.
The book is accessible and readable, and seems to be aimed at the layperson as well as the expert. The book is filled with up to 285 illustrations including photographs, maps and paintings.
It follows the history of Britain, from the Pre-Roman Iron Age tribes, to Caesar and later Claudius's invasions of the country. Along the way we learn about Suetonius Paulinius's conquest of Wales, Julius Agricola's campaigns in Scotland, Boudica's rebellion, Hadrian's Wall, the later campaigns of the Emperor Septimius Severus, the breakaway 'British' Empire of Allectus and Carausius, as well as Roman Britain before its fall.
Yet the book is much more than a chronological tour of the province. Bedoyere also describes life in Britain under the Romans. From the governing of the province, the army and the forts, the towns with their public baths, theatres and forums, industry and commerce, the countryside and the villas, as well as religion and the ordinary lives of the Romano-British citizens.
This book could be seen as the modern heir to the seminal 'A Companion to Roman Britain' by Peter Clayton. The only downside to this book is that, unlike Clayton's book, it does not contain an up-to-date gazetteer of Roman sites. Still, with that minor problem aside, this is probably the most readable and most up-to-date account of Roman Britain published. A good starting point for beginners, and a useful update for experts. Recommended!