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Interesting parallels between historical periods
on 24 September 2013
I have often thought that modern day USA resembles a little too much for its own good the last days of the Roman Empire, and I'm obviously not the only one. This book takes the resemblance and turns it into an interesting single story of two young men whose parallel lives take the same path despite being a couple of thousand years apart.
Running through the story in both eras is The Meditations which turns up at unexpected moments to offer food for thought, solace, and a link to sanity. In fact, the material on which to meditate in this book is so interesting, I'm going to download it asap.
The story is sometimes a little confusing, but it doesn't take long to understand what the author is trying to achieve. Each chapter follows on from the previous one in the other time period. Mark has an experience in one chapter which is followed by Marcus doing what comes next in his time period. You don't get to reread what Marcus' version of the experience was beyond the initial introductory chapters. It's an interesting way of writing.
The descriptions of Roman life are colourful, as you'd imagine, but as corrupt and debauched as the descriptions of modern day US. I didn't understand who was supposed to be the last Stoic in 21st century US because all the chapters dealing with him directly happened in Rome. Intentionally, perhaps.
Anyway, an unusual read.