11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Certainly a great book, but perhaps a misleading title,
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This review is from: Pompeii (Paperback)
There's not much point in me trying to contend with the excellent and lengthy review already provided here by Stephen A. Haines. Having myself just returned from a holiday incorporating visits to Pompeii and Herculaneum, I will simply remark instead that whilst this is an excellent read, it's not really in itself a great companion for anyone who wants to visit (or has visited) Pompeii, in the sense of helping to make sense of what they will actually see (or have seen) there. Rather it's a kind of partly factual, partly imagined narrative of the quarter-century of the city and the wider Roman world leading up to the eruption of Vesuvius in 79.
For both the prospective tourist and one who has already been, the book I recommend instead is Mary Beard's Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town, which discusses what information can be gleaned about life in the town in relation to specific buildings you will see (or have seen). I bought both books before visiting, handing Ms Beard's book to my wife first whilst I read this book in the meantime. I really wish that I had done the opposite, not least because the missus was able to tell me far, far more about what was actually standing in front of us as as we stood in the ruins than I had found out from this book.
So read Ms Beard's book first, and if the subject fires your interest, by all means read this too for a somewhat different angle.