Professor Luce, an eminent Livian scholar, has rendered the first five books of Livy's "Ab Urbe Condita" in concise English that not only retains the essence of the Latin but also conveys the vividness of the narrative. In other words, he tells the tales of the founding of Rome in an entertaining manner that is accessible to today's students, who have little patience for long-winded or stilted prose.
The book includes an informative introduction, two maps, a brief chronology, and copious notes. My only quibble is with the index, which has been geared for scholars of Roman history. For example, a student looking up the dictator Cincinnatus must be aware that he is listed by the gens name of Quinctius (There is no cross-reference.); and then the student has to decide between Titus, Lucius, and Quintus. While this is good practice for the serious scholar of Roman history, it might be infuriating for the casual reader (One hopes that Oxford will correct this flaw in a future edition). Nevertheless, the book is so enjoyable that I recommend it highly and have adopted it for my Roman Civilization class.
Livy, writing under Augustus, was, like his contemporary Vergil, mythologising about the foundation of Rome, and his story of where the Romans came from and how the Roman character was formed, tells us more about Roman self-identity (or the way they wanted to see themselves) at the turning point between the Republic and the principate than about the past.
Having said that, Livy tells a fabulous (literally) story: from the early kings to their expulsion by the first Marcus Brutus and the beginning of the Republic; from Rome's small beginnings to her conquests and domination of Italy. The stories of Romulus and Remus mothered by the wolf, Horatius at the bridge, the rape and suicide of Lucretia, the tragic story of Corialanus and his mother are here, and it's fascinating to read them in their original context.
Livy is lively, tragic, vivid and witty and that all comes over in the translation. Read this together with Vergil and compare their creative conception of what it means to be Roman, where they have come from and where they are going.