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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing introduction to a facinating period in history - completely absorbing
The story of the rise and fall of Rome is infinitely fascinating. I picked up this book with very limited knowledge of Rome and a little curiosity, and put this book down with a brand new enthusiasm for the period.

This book squeezes many pivotal moments of Rome's history into a mere 400 odd pages. Chapters include: Revolution, Caesar, Augustus, Nero,...
Published on 26 Nov. 2009 by Little Miss Average

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but with predictable writing style, and major gaps
All in all, this is an excellent book. The author seems to understand Rome better than most others do, or at the very least, better than most others can explain. For example, I was never aware that the Senate was not actually a political body, but a think tank. Also, I did not know that the Christians that rejected the Holy Trinity, the Arians, were called so due to the...
Published on 14 Jan. 2013 by Peyman Askari


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read and very Informative, 4 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (Paperback)
Roman history spans some 2,000 years with the 'Empire' years sandwiched in the first 1,000. So, to capture that in 300 pages just isn't practical? There were over 100 Emperors, and as many dictators (like Caesar) prior to that, so again, the book simply has to be selective.
I would suggest that those looking to get a really good education in Roman history have read several books on the subject?
This book sticks to Rome's military history / conflicts and the building of the Empire through several of its key and longest serving Emperors. Many others of course are mentioned in passing.
I particularly liked the chapter on Nero but I had no idea that a million Jews suffered at their hands of Vespasian? The book was an interesting and very informative read, though perhaps not the easiest to plough through as there's plenty of text on each page and the book felt more like a 400 plus read to me.
The book tells you little about the life of the average Roman or what the Romans actually achieved apart from dominance. It doesn't get involved with what Rome brought to the party for countries that they ruled (roads, baths etc.), though some of their engineering feats are mentioned in battle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good basic survey of a vast subject, 15 Feb. 2012
By 
James Mitchell (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (Paperback)
As the companion to a rather forgotten TV series (still available on dvd, it featured dramatised versions of the historical events featuring a pretty good cast as I remember) this book might appear a bit irrelevant on its own merit, but I think it holds its own. It would be easy to criticize it(as some have) for being a little sketchy and lacking depth - OK, Gibbon it ain't - but as an introduction to, or even reminder of, some of the key episodes in the history of an empire spanning over a thousand years, it's pretty good - readable, clear, concise and with the facts straight. Of course, given such a span of history, all Roman life can't be here - but each episode is properly introduced within its own context, and the general reader will come away with a sense of just that vast span, which s/he can then go on to explore in more depth. I'd defy 99% of readers not to find a lot here they didn't know, had forgotten, or at least were confused about.

It's certainly not dumbed down, as one reviewer implied, but neither is it going all out to impress us with its erudition - and so lose the narrative in too much detail. If only all popular history was as well crafted.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent readable survey of Roman history, 8 Oct. 2009
By 
R. F. Riesco "Rod Riesco" (Horwich, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book in preparation for my first trip to Rome. It enabled me to trace the basic sequence of events in the history of the Roman Republic and Empire and gain a sense of where the famous names fitted in. The author displays a wide-ranging historical knowledge backed up by notes and references to the latest academic findings, but is always highly readable. In fact parts of the book read more like a thriller. Recommended to anyone looking for an introduction to the history of Rome.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars epic sweep, 9 Feb. 2011
By 
Fergus Reid - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (Paperback)
This book offers you an introductory education in a crucial part of world history. The stuff that happens in this account still affect us, on a daily basis. It suffers a bit for being a 'survey', in that it moves at dizzying speed, but then that suits a newcomer to the history, and you can always pick and choose which bits to investigate later. For me; Nero and the rise of the arts; the sacking of the Jews by the romans; Augustus and Contstantine, and the rise of Christianity.
Its very 'BBC' if you know what I mean, but I think it has quite a good style.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest histories of mankind., 1 Dec. 2010
By 
Mr. R. Safadi "Ray Constantine" (London, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (Paperback)
Have you ever wondered how the Roman empire disappeared? Let alone how it all started? This book explains all of that and more. It goes into deep detail on each emperor that controlled the most powerful empire that was ever created. The book is interesting from the first page till the last one and will leave you gripped and wanting to read more. There is more to Rome than Julius Caesar.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class introducton, 19 July 2008
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This review is from: Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (Paperback)
This must the best introduction to Roman history written so far, and one not likely to be superseded in a hurry. Not only that but it has features which can benefit anyone well read in the subject since it casts a new light on some of the most important events in that history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good book, 15 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (Paperback)
I bought this book when I started an adult education class on the history of Rome, as I like to have a different viewpoint or perspective on whatever I am learning. This book sometimes had a different emphasis but it really enhanced my enjoyment of the class, by providing additional information or looking at things in a different way. It is also written in a very enjoyable and entertaining style, making it very readable. As previous reviewers have said, it does not include great detail of every single emperor or event in Roman history, but for anyone with a recreational interest it is an excellent starting point and it has made me keen to pursue further reading on this subject.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An endless bloodbath, 18 May 2009
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (Paperback)
This book, based on the splendid BBC TV-series (DVD not to be missed) is the story of a city `founded on murder'. Its history is an orgy of bloodshed, an endless slaughtering in order to grab naked power (not prestige!) and to have legally the right to decide over `life or death' of ALL citizens and to steal ALL the riches of the empire (slaves, silver, gold, land, corn, real estate, cattle, the spoils of wars). A ruler could easily `condemn and put to death' any citizen to lay his hands on his wealth.

The murderous, barbaric struggle was principally fought personally within the super rich ruling class (the aristocracy). It was not less than a cynical butchery of fathers, sons, cousins, clans and `friends'. Other factors were the voting block of plebs, the voting block of the rural provinces and the most important factor of all, the army.
Ultimately, military power hanged on the strategic and tactical strength of a general, as well as his capability to exploit the fighting spirit of his soldiers, who were only interested in the booty of war or a State pension.
Roman military might was also the decisive factor in the creation and ultimately the fall of the empire.

This book focuses on a few pivotal events in the history of the empire:
The battle for control of the main commercial routes (Mare nostrum) with Carthago (the Punic wars).
The fight of Tiberius Gracchus against the aristocracy for land reform in order to fill the enormous gap between the haves and have-nots.
Julius Caesar, a most capable general, exploiting the voting block of the plebs to grab dictatorial power.
Augustus, the clement autocrat.
Nero, the emperor as a madman.
Constantine, the opportunistic general fighting under a Christian banner and murdering a hundred thousand human being at Chrysopolis.
The Goth Alaric sacking the Holy City.

Rome is in many ways a perfect mirror of our modern world: the deep chasm between the rich and the poor, the all importance of military strength, cynical wars for power, commercial pipelines and wealth all over the place, a tiny oligarchic ruling class with long arms in the `provinces' and finally, the innate fear of the powerful for real democracy (the veto possibility of the tribunes).

This book is a must read for all those interested in the history of Rome and of mankind
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't think of it as a History Book, it's far too good ., 30 Nov. 2007
By 
P. Elliott "lord of the dance" (South East UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (Paperback)
I don't have the time to pore over musty old tomes with dry, boring language. I can't read anything unless it is engaging, with enough cheap thrills for someone with the attention span of a goldfish. I found this both factually interesting and exciting in the way it portrays the characters of the past. When i first got it, i bought it because i thought i ought to read something that betters my mind. I didn't pick it up for about 4 months, but once i did, i couldn't put it down. If you like history, but don't like history books, read this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, 5 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (Paperback)
Initially this book put me off as it starts off with some historiography and explanation of sources used. However, you can choose to skip this section if you so wish, as it is not necessary. The rest of the book gives a fantastically informative yet enjoyable cover of a large section of history, covering many areas in a lot of detail. If you love the Romans, you will love this book. And if you don't love the Romans? READ THE BOOK AND YOU WILL!!!
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Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire
Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire by Simon Baker (Paperback - 7 Jun. 2007)
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