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on 7 December 2000
The book focuses equally on both the political and war aspects of Cæsar's entire life and achievements. It gives a clear account of everything, without lingering, and thus may be a little lacking in depth (but not much), but still an excellent read. Meier also provides vivid insights of Cæasar's opponents and supporters, which gives a background for understanding such men as Pompey, Cato, Cicero, Marc Anthony and Sulla. Furthermore, he refers to Cæsar's own work, and points out which parts of it he believes to be true, or pure propaganda, which is useful and interesting. Personally, I would have liked a more thorough account of the major battles, but that doesn't mean they aren't accounted for. I would recomment the book for anyone who wants to know more about this awesome character which is still so fascinating after 2000 years.
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This is written by a German Classics professor and though it's pitched as a book for the general reader, I suspect it assumes a lot of knowledge that a Mr/Ms Average just doesn't have. Having said that, it is erudite without being overwhelming and is very well translated. It covers Caesar's life, military and political career, and puts it all into the context of the social/political crisis of the Republic. Both a weakness and a strength is the lack of critical bibliography and footnotes - yes, they can be off-putting to the general reader, but they also help 'site' a book within current scholarship.

Meier's interpretation of Caesar's thoughts, assumptions and motives gives this a daring depth that you just don't get in most history/academic books and while he never pretends it's more than his own subjective opinion, it still rings true.

Read this for a fascinating interpretation of a fascinating man who really did stride the ancient world like a colossus, but do remember it's Meier's version, not necessarily the 'truth'.
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on 18 December 2014
Meier asks the revolutionary question - what is it like to be something new?
He asks this of one of the greatest individuals of all time, someone who his contemporaries were baffled, fascinated and terrified of.
Caesar was something new, nobody before him, and probably after, had his astonishing array of gifts.
Caesar asked - how can I express my potential? Can I be allowed to express my potential?
The late Roman republic ultimately said no.
Meier's book is a brilliant study of two clashing, destructive realities.
I have never read a history book that has dealt at such a seabed depth with what it means to be an individual in society.
Read and then think. A lot.
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on 18 October 2015
Excellent book - gives the felling of a personal account of Caesar, good and bad, not one-sided. It appears you either love or loathe Caesar but Christian Meier gives an unbiased view. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
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on 13 August 2007
Actually I am not thick and have a considerable historical knowledge, but I found this book quite inpenetrable. It seemed to me to be very long-winded and repetetive and I found Caesar himself getting lost in the detail. Meier spends most of the book putting Caesar into the context of Roman politics, which is, of course, important and he refuses to state facts where none exist, which is also commendable. But I found myself reading page after page about the Roman mind-set and still being none the wiser. By page 150 Caesar was in his thirties and all I had understood was that he, like Pompey, was different to other Romans, but I was still not sure why. Sorry, but I was very disappointed with this book.
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on 17 March 2006
I can't believe that the other reviews are referring to the same book. I gave up in the end. Pretentious, overly elaborate, and practically unreadable. Try and have a look at it before you buy. However, if you like every third sentence to be a question, this could be for you.
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on 18 December 2014
Great
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on 29 June 2005
Well, so much has been said about Julius Caesar. This book gives an insight into the incredible pride of a man who's ego was so big that he really seemed to believe that he deserved the world. I have taken some inspiration from him - that those who expect often get. But moderation isn't something that one really learns from Caesar (although he tried his hand at magnanimity).
Interesting account of Vertingetorix and his fate.
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on 1 December 2003
A wonderful book, very comprehensive biography of this popular man.
Just perfect.
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