You remember the Romans from school, of course: they came after the Egyptians and before the Tudors. I was lucky enough to take Latin in school way back and although I was hopeless at it (if you're still out there Mr Burrows, I'm sure you'll agree) at the same time I loved it.
Peter Jones is a Cambridge classics scholar and a brilliant communicator both in his broadcasts and writings. This book is an overview of everything Roman: the mythology, the history, the politics, the society, the attitudes; everything in fact except the language and, although this is touched upon, you will have to buy Dr Jones's little book on Latin to learn more. He writes in a light hearted manner with wit but also with enthusiasm.
Particularly interesting is the Romans' attitude to many things, such as sexuality. We in Western Europe today are affected, even if we think we are not, by the Judeo-Christian tradition of thought and attitude: the early Romans were not and could not be. Who is right? This book, light-hearted though it may be, certainly can stimulate much thought and discussion.
I'm unsure about the secondary title, 'but were afraid to ask'. Hands up all of you who know a classics scholar; mine remains down. Perhaps 'didn't know where to ask' would be better as the internet, despite all its advantages, is riddled with errors.
One fault: there's an attractive cover but there are no illustrations. The book should be illustrated not perhaps with photographs of endless ruins but with photographs of busts of the Romans alluded to and perhaps amusing drawings to compliment the text.
Please Mr Burrows Sir, what use is Latin.....