Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire Paperback – 7 Jun 2007
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"Lively and well-researched: an excellent read" (Peter Heather, author of The Fall of the Roman Empire)
"This is a history of Rome that combines vivid drama and a gripping storyline with a keen alertness to bigger historical questions" (Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge University)
"Brings the distant past to fully fleshed life" (Good Book Guide)
"Highly recommended" (Birmingham Evening Mail)
"Rome is revealed as it really was - gritty, magnificent and sometimes pretty sordid. Splendid stuff" (Manchester Evening News)
An accessible and highly entertaining single-volume history of Ancient RomeSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This book squeezes many pivotal moments of Rome's history into a mere 400 odd pages. Chapters include: Revolution, Caesar, Augustus, Nero, Rebellion, Hadrian, Constantine, and Fall. It was such compulsive reading I finished it within three days - and that almost never happens with non-fiction books. Simon Baker has done a fantastic job of making this history book highly readable and accessible to all. It is informative and educational, but not dry as you might expect from the subject matter.
It is an excellent introduction to that period for the uninitiated, but for those who already have some knowledge it may be too basic an overview for you.
I have given this book 5 stars because the genius of this book is that the process of learning is completely painless. Once I picked it up I couldn't put it down.
I thoroughly recommend this to people curious about Ancient Rome, it won't disappoint.
Rome was after all one of the greatest, if not the greatest empire ever known. There are figures from its past that stick out like beacons. Probably the greatest of them all Julius Caesar and of course his main adversary Pompey. Others out of the many notables include Mark Antony, Nero, Claudius and many more.
There were also Rome's great buildings. The Forum, the circus maximus and the Flavian amphitheatre, now more commonly known as the Colosseum, all built to show potential enemies the might that was Rome. Then on to the true might of Rome, its Legions. An army that comprised the greatest fighting force the world had ever seen. Because of their discipline and rigid training they were at that period in history, virtually unbeatable.
The author pulls all these facts together beautifully to make a book that is not only informative and educational but also high readable as well.
The first problem becomes apparent when Baker goes from Augustus in chapter II to Nero in chapter III. Although later briefly mentioned, not discussed are the purges of Tiberius and Caligula, the bribing into office of Claudius, and the insane excesses of Caligula. Another case is with the description of the fall of Rome. Baker dedicates 40 pages of the last chapter describing the plight of the Vandals and how their general Alaric essentially defeated the Western Empire, and then a measly three and a half paragraphs on Atila the Hun, who defeated both the Eastern and Western Empires.
The first case of useless details is Tiberius Grachus, famous for being a tribune who fought for the common people, and for this, the Senators killed him. Baker, spends 50 pages on this, and it makes for an extremely boring read. Baker follows this guy all the way across Spain and then during the sack of Carthage, just to tell us what I just told you.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good read, very informative and provides a good understanding of some of the major points throughout Roman history. Read morePublished 2 months ago
Useful publication to remind myself of the history of Ancient Rome. It was a useful book to read after our visit to the CityPublished 7 months ago by Mel J Simmons
I've read enough history books over the years to know that some authors can make them so dry and unappealing that it becomes an arduous task chapter by chapter. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Gadget Lover
Very intresting read, gives a beginner a summary of the major events throughout Romes history.Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer