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Spartacus (Polyg9on Lewis Grassic Gibbon) [Paperback]

Lewis Grassic Gibbon
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Aug 2005 Polyg9on Lewis Grassic Gibbon
The uprising of the slaves against the Romans in 73 BC, led by the gladiator Spartacus, has been an inspiration to generations of people who have stood up against oppression. By the time he was captured by Marcus Licinius Crassus in 71 BC and executed by crucifixion, his army of around 90 000 slaves and dispossessed had defeated several Roman armies and devastated much of the southern part of the Italian peninsula. For Karl Marx, Spartacus was 'the most splendid fellow that all ancient history has to show; great general, noble character, real representative of the ancient proletariat'. For Grassic Gibbon, a lifelong Marxist International and successful historian of early civilisations, Spartacus allowed him to focus on his fiercely held beliefs in the nature of society, the freedom of the individual, and the inevitable collapse of 'civilisation'.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited (4 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904598560
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904598565
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.6 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 668,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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A vivid story, packed with the wild hopes, the doomed dreams, the cruelty and licentiousness of the time. --Evening Standard

It would be impossible to overestimate Lewis Grassic Gibbon's importance . . . A Scot's Quair is a landmark work; it permeates the Scottish literary consciousness and colours all subsequent writing of its kind. --David Kerr Cameron

From the Publisher

Gibbon's knowledge is impressive, and the book is wonderful to read as fiction, as adventure, and as a history of people in the grip of exploitation and oppression. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a marvel 5 Feb 1999
By A Customer
I have just finished this book. I found myself crushed by it, elated, horrified and overjoyed. The style of prose is elegiac and truly phenomenal. A true story of sacrifice, valour, loss and betrayal, of hope, 100 years even before the birth of Christ. A wonderful read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the book of the film! 8 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When I bought this I was under the mistaken impression that it was the novel upon which the Stanley Kubrick film of the same name was based; it isn't - that was Howard Fast's 1950s version of the story, which I have not (yet) read. But I would be very surprised if it is anywhere as good as this.

This is simply a superb piece of writing that takes the reader right back to the Italy of 73 BC. Other reviewers have remarked on the unusual prose style, and I agree. It very much reads as though it was translated from Latin - it wasn't, but Gibbon/Mitchell will certainly have read the classics and it shows.

Interestingly, there is no gladiatoral combat here - the story takes up where Spartacus and his followers are already in the field in southern Italy, with the breakout from the camp at Capua alluded to only in flashback. And the tale from there on is INCREDIBLY violent; I can't believe it wasn't controversial in 1933 - not the sort of thing you'd have allowed children to read.

But read it, it's a fabulous book.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This book really got to me ...It is about reconciling war and violence and brutality with its causes. A terrifying examination of human nature - albeit with the historical events somewhat manipulated to make the authors point. I don't generally subscribe to the Marxist viewpoint but that didn't take away from the power of the writing or the implications of the story. The time of its writing was pre-WWII with the figure of Nazi germany loomong over Europe. A great, thought provoking read, that stays with you for weeks afterwards.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Mitchell's Great Novel 28 Oct 2009
Looks like this one has been re-issued under the author's better known nom de plume. I read it 15 years ago and it was my favourite novel for many many years. It is beautifully written, and the author was of course a scholar of the classics and it shows in this little masterpiece! Only Mann's Death in Venice and Waugh's Brideshead Revisited impressed me as greatly as Mitchell's 'Spartacus'! A fantastic version of the famous slaves' revolt against the might of the Roman Empire! Mitchell is arguably Aberdeen's greatest son! Viri et Animo! JP :)
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