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Spartacus Mass Market Paperback – 19 Jun 2000

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: ibooks Inc (19 Jun. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743412826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743412827
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 3.6 x 16.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,236,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

Retells the story of a gladiator who led the slaves in a revolt against Rome.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Theodore A. Rushton on 29 May 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Freedom is a tough habit to suppress, and even by using widespread terror the Romans found it very difficult to suppress the freedom of slaves who rose in revolt under the leadership of Spartacus.
Rome was built on exploitation, slavery and terror, says Fast. Interesting, if true. Roman terror was expressed in the crucifixion of 6,000 slaves after the revolt of the gladiators was crushed in 71 BC. Fast goes into exquisite technical details about crucifixion, which could take four days for a victim to die. But he also says even the wealthiest Roman citizens and politicians of that time could walk the common streets without fear of crime.
But the thrust of this book is the quest for freedom. Fast was a victim of the 1950s McCarthyism, and thus knew personally what it means to be persecuted for being out of step with the ruling authorities. Fast's views are briefly expressed by Spartacus, "Our law is simple. Whatever we take, we hold in common, and no man shall own anything but his weapons and his clothes. It will be the way it was in the old times."
Old times will never return. Rome was becoming a society without values or ideals, with the rich addicted to luxury, depravity and wastrel excess and the poor supported by welfare and mindless but increasingly violent games. He makes the Roman Senate sound a lot like the US Senate of the 1950s; proud, corrupt, ignorant and arrogrant. His portrayal of Rome is enough to make anyone cheer Julius Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon to impose authoritative law and order.
The book is a celebration of freedom, without really defining its meaning. Perhaps unwittingly, he credits Spartacus' followers with the same loyalty that turned Rome into a tyranny; as one says, "I want you to place me by your side.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sally-Anne on 13 Nov. 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The gladiator slave Spartacus, was loved and respected by his down-trodden comrades and the woman he regarded as his wife. Under his leadership the slaves at the gladiatorial school of Batiatus in Capua rebelled, defeated their Roman guards and escaped. They became a magnet, a hope, a cause for the other miserable, wretched victims of Roman imperialism. A slave army grew and threatened to tear out the rotten, decadent heart of Rome. For a short while it looked as though it was really possible that Rome could become the victim of its victims. Bloody battles were fought and won by the slave army. But in the end, the power of Rome was stronger, bigger, harder, better organised, more ruthless and perhaps more desperate to preserve its parasitic way of life.
It's impossible not to identify with the briefly liberated slaves and to root for them every step of the way. The Romans in the story just seem irredeemably empty of any virtue or grace. They depend on slaves for almost everything in their day to day existence. Slaves produce the food, cook it and serve it; they work in the mines (work which kills the children very quickly and the adults fairly quickly); they provide the entertainment from performing sex to dying in the arena; they carry the Romans round in litters and they seem to be paid mainly in beatings and death. The working class Romans have been replace by slave labour so have to be supported by dole and kept quiescent by entertainments such as gambling and gladiatorial competitions. The system is rotten to the core. The meaning of life is lost, to the extent that Roman men even sell their own children into slavery when their sexual recreation results in the pregnancy of a slave woman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. T. Hoeg on 22 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Spartacus" was published during the cold war and one can easily imagine the reaction of some parties to the liberal ideas forwarded in this novel. Quite clearly, Haward Fast uses the Spartacus story as the first example of a rebellion of supressed people against their suppressor. Whether you are a socialist (I am not) or not, he does this very well. He also very convincingly describes the life of the gladiators in the late Roman republic time. His rendering of Romans such as Crassus and Cicero are excellent, but, unlike my first read of this novel, 30 years ago, I now got a little tired by the lengthy descriptions of the decadence of these rich people. Some scenes, however, are priceless: The arrival of Spartacus to the salt mines in Nubia. The workings of the gladiator school. The interview of the roman soldier in the Roman senate and so on. Anybody that fancy historical novels and interested in the Roman empire should read this book at least once.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ma Weaver on 15 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have seen the movie or watched the series, leave it at that, the book is more about Roman history and life and to be honest i got half way and gave up!!! But then again you may like it, remember its only my opinion and i'm not a critic or book reviewer.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Hamelberg on 2 Nov. 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I love to read about the way Romans thought and acted, especially after the introduction Colleen McCullough gave me in her Masters of Rome series.
This book about Spartacus is timeless and has little to do with the particularities of Roman life. Rather more to do with how mankind reacts to immorality.
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