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Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain

Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain [Kindle Edition]

Charlotte Higgins
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"Wonderfully written and full of unexpected facts. Higgins brings Roman Britain into the present." (Richard Sennett)

"Beautifully crafted. The beauty of this book is not just in the elegant prose and the precision with which she skewers her myths. It is in the sympathy that she shows for the myth-makers, the men and woman who so very much wanted their very own Roman Britain." (Peter Stothard The Times)

"Mesmerising. Sophisticated and passionate. She personalizes the story in a diaristic, almost poetic tone.her prose reminds me at times of W. G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn.similarly haunted by a sense of a past slipping away." (Tim Whitmarsh Guardian)

"Smart and up-to-date, sensitive but hard-headed, impeccably researched but gloriously poetic. The layering of themes, moods and topics is staggering. There's nothing like quite it." (Tom Holland, author of 'Rubicon' and 'Persian Fire')

"Under Another Sky should be on every shelf in the UK. Part travelogue, part handbook and part revisionist history, it is a personal and vivid encounter with landscapes, artefacts and people. Beautifully considered and written." (Ruth Padel New Statesman)

Book Description

A journey around the archeological and cultural remains of Roman Britain by the award-winning author of It's All Greek to Me.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2666 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (25 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CQ1DGE8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,763 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

A classicist by education, Charlotte is the author of three books on aspects of the ancient world. The most recent, Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain (Jonathan Cape, 2013), was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize, the Thwaites Wainwright prize, the Hessell-Tiltman prize and the Dolman prize.

She first fell in love with the classical world through a battered but beautiful illustrated volume of stories from the Iliad and Odyssey that she found on one of her elder brother's bookshelves. Later, she had a fantastic teacher at school who managed to teach her Latin and Greek, which she went on to study at Oxford.

Charlotte's day (and often, night) job is as the Guardian's chief arts writer, contributing to its news, features, op-ed, literary and cultural coverage. At present she is working on a major long-form project about the BBC.

Charlotte lives in London. She is a regular contributor to BBC radio and in her spare time plays violin.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most enjoyable journey around Roman Britain 6 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book, informative, erudite, and up to the minute in its discussions of the latest discoveries and thinking about Roman Britain. Charlotte Higgins writes very well, evoking the differing Roman sites and landscapes in flowing, often atmospheric, prose. Her use of imagery, and her clear delight, in particular at the flora that can clothe these ancient sites, give considerable pleasure. Personal details from her journeys - for example, the oft breaking-down camper van or the dodgy individuals met along the Antonine Wall - provide context, reader empathy, and often amusement, but never overly intrude. She displays her academic credentials in some detailed commentaries on, for example, literary sources and the iconography of mosaics, accompanied by a fair sprinkling of Latin quotations (happily, with translation). She gives as well many interesting facts from the life stories of antiquarians and archaeologists who have been involved in the subject of Roman Britain over the recent centuries. Leading archaeologists today clearly co-operated in her site visits, enabling her to represent the very latest views on a number of controversial issues.

I haven't enjoyed a book on Roman Britain so much for a long time. The nearest parallel is Leonard Cottrell's 'Seeing Roman Britain', but that is now nearly 60 years out of date and did not perhaps have the same professional rigour as the present work. Charlotte Higgins' book was very much needed. It could be turned into an excellent TV series. The only thing I spotted not quite right - other than for one or two typos - is the statement, repeated, that Hod Hill is near Maiden Castle: they are, in fact, well over 20 miles apart!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Charlotte Higgins writes from the heart, with superb, scholarly insight and confidence. Her book was such a pleasure to read, exciting, funny, awe-inspiring and humbling.
As a young man, I had the great good fortune to spend a long summer in Britain and was encouraged by my host family in Marlborough to explore. I was working full-time but, with the audacity of the young, I hitchhiked all over. I saw the standing stones at Avebury and Stonehenge and explored Bath and the highlands of Scotland. How moving it was to read of some of these same places in Ms. Higgins' book.
"Oh, to be in England ... " indeed! Alas, air fares are not what they were then! Still, with books like "Under Another Sky" it is almost, _almost_ as extraordinary as being there.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining guide to Roman Britain 27 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are a lot of books and TV programmmes at the moment about the ancient world, and so any new book needs to bring something new to the mix. Charlotte Higgins provides a very personal account of her visits to different corners of Britain, and with a journalist's eye captures the experience of seeing them for the first time and talking to experts about how they came about.

As a Classics graduate, she knows her stuff and is well infomred. But the journalist in her is able to distil the infomration into a very readable account.

For those readers inspired to follow in her footsteps, there is plenty of information in the suffix of the book, providing her sources and also how to get to each of the sites she mentions.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Roman Clodia TOP 50 REVIEWER
This is a good popular study of what Roman Britain has - and does - mean to various people across time. Higgins has a Classics BA and is a journalist so this is intelligent without being academic or scholarly. Setting out her stall upfront, Higgins sets out to show how `Britain' has always been a constructed idea for the Romans (e.g. Catullus' ultimosque Brittanos, `the most remote Britons', c.11), just as `Roman Britain' is for us, as well as being both a chronological and physical location.

Travelling around the UK to various Roman sites (London, Bath, Scotland, Norfolk etc.) this is an expansive narrative that dips in and out of being a travelogue, a history, an archaeological guide and more.

Higgins is a witty and interesting companion on this journey and writes well in a style which is easy to read without compromising on accuracy - fluent and fascinating, this is a book crying out for a TV series.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and quirky view of Roman Britain 28 Oct 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It doesn't pretend to be an exhaustive gazetteer of the sites to be found all over the country, or an in-depth history of Roman Britain, which some of the more negative reviewers seem to have been expecting. But it casts a bright spotlight on some more obscure places, some of which I'd never heard of, and some of which - Vindolanda, Bath, Silchester - have become famous. I found the story of how each era has interpreted Roman Britain in its own image, to bolster its own prejudices, as fascinating as the details of how the sites were originally discovered and excavated, with some interesting sidelights on well-known archaeologists. Finally, the losses over the years, particularly in the eighteenth and even the nineteenth centuries, of mosaics casually broken up, buildings demolished for their stone, treasure hidden, is both tragic and an appalling indictment of greed, thoughtlessness and ignorance. My one complaint is the lack of good photographs - the ones embedded in the text are dark and unclear. It would have benefited from some clear colour images, particularly of the mosaics, which are beautifully described but, apart from a couple, not illustrated.
And even if Ms Higgins hadn't produced a well-written, entertaining overview of Roman Britain and what it has meant to us down the ages, her obvious love for the novels of Rosemary Sutcliff, particularly my own childhood favourite The Eagle of the Ninth, would make it worthy of an extra star.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a very readable and thought provoking guide
A guide to the guidebooks, possibly. A light but learned trip through the Roman occupation of Britain, illustrated by its remaining artefacts and structures, and it's critiques... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Mr. Michael Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
This is a fresh take on an interesting subject and I really enjoyed reading it. I realise now that the Roman Empire was a vulgar enterprise but this book brought Roman Britain to... Read more
Published 14 days ago by bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb

Very well written. Well researched and involving.

One of the best books I have read this year. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dev B
5.0 out of 5 stars An ideal primer
The author, currently The Guardian's chief arts writer but with a Classics background, has over the past years developed a particular fascination with Roman Britain, travelling... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Blencathra
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and inspirational book
Warning - if, like me, you live thousands of miles from Britain, be prepared for some frustration as this book will make you want to jump in the car and go looking for evidence and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Byron Geoffrey Farrow
5.0 out of 5 stars Under Another Sky by Charlotte Higgins
This is an excellent book for all those interested in
the Roman occupation of Britain. I look forward to reading
other books by Charlotte Higgins.l
Published 1 month ago by mardart
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and entertaining musing on all things Roman in Britian
This is a very enjoyable read which covers the most important Roman sites and archaelogical discoveries in Britain and which explains the history of Roman rule along the way. Read more
Published 1 month ago by markr
5.0 out of 5 stars Roman Britain today
This is a most fascinating account of what remains of our Roman heritage in terms of its tangible remains.. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. Vivien E. Lomax
2.0 out of 5 stars review of under another Sky
not a book I would recommend very dry. Only found the bit at the end where she recommended places to visit of interest
Published 2 months ago by Mrs J M Oxenham
4.0 out of 5 stars Learning about the Romans and what they got up to in Britain
This book opened my eyes to the Roman phase of of 'Our Island Story' and has made me want to see the places described. Read more
Published 2 months ago by catherine baines
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