Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain Hardcover – 25 Jul 2013
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"Wonderfully written and full of unexpected facts. Higgins brings Roman Britain into the present." (Richard Sennett)
"Beautifully crafted… The beauty of this book is not just in the elegant prose and the precision with which she skewers her myths. It is in the sympathy that she shows for the myth-makers, the men and woman who so very much wanted their very own Roman Britain." (Peter Stothard The Times)
"Mesmerising… Sophisticated and passionate. She personalizes the story in a diaristic, almost poetic tone…her prose reminds me at times of W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn…similarly haunted by a sense of a past slipping away." (Tim Whitmarsh Guardian)
"Smart and up-to-date, sensitive but hard-headed, impeccably researched but gloriously poetic. The layering of themes, moods and topics is staggering. There's nothing like quite it." (Tom Holland, author of 'Rubicon' and 'Persian Fire')
"Under Another Sky should be on every shelf in the UK. Part travelogue, part handbook and part revisionist history, it is a personal and vivid encounter with landscapes, artefacts and people… Beautifully considered and written." (Ruth Padel New Statesman)
A journey around the archeological and cultural remains of Roman Britain by the award-winning author of It’s All Greek to Me.Shortlisted for the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize and the Thwaites Wainwright Prize.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
As a Classics graduate, she knows her stuff and is well infomred. But the journalist in her is able to distil the infomration into a very readable account.
For those readers inspired to follow in her footsteps, there is plenty of information in the suffix of the book, providing her sources and also how to get to each of the sites she mentions.
This sounds like a winning combination and clearly many readers have found it so. I found it less satisfying than I had anticipated. Perhaps there's just not quite enough left of Roman remains to make this really interesting (the black and white illustrations may not do them justice?); or not quite a vivid enough sense of Roman culture emergent - though the book did make me think - Romans, for instance, not being Italians from Rome, but free men from anywhere in the Empire and people who served in Britain came from all over, and the precise nature of Hadrian's Wall with fortified gatehouses every mile along the route, ie perhaps it wasn't really meant to keep out invasions.
I suspect the chapter at the back saying what there is to see and where, and how to see it (book B&B in advance for six nights if you are walking Hadrian's Wall) is a very helpful guide - but I haven't used it as such!
As a young man, I had the great good fortune to spend a long summer in Britain and was encouraged by my host family in Marlborough to explore. I was working full-time but, with the audacity of the young, I hitchhiked all over. I saw the standing stones at Avebury and Stonehenge and explored Bath and the highlands of Scotland. How moving it was to read of some of these same places in Ms. Higgins' book.
"Oh, to be in England ... " indeed! Alas, air fares are not what they were then! Still, with books like "Under Another Sky" it is almost, _almost_ as extraordinary as being there.
Travelling around the UK to various Roman sites (London, Bath, Scotland, Norfolk etc.) this is an expansive narrative that dips in and out of being a travelogue, a history, an archaeological guide and more.
Higgins is a witty and interesting companion on this journey and writes well in a style which is easy to read without compromising on accuracy - fluent and fascinating, this is a book crying out for a TV series.
(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
And even if Ms Higgins hadn't produced a well-written, entertaining overview of Roman Britain and what it has meant to us down the ages, her obvious love for the novels of Rosemary Sutcliff, particularly my own childhood favourite The Eagle of the Ninth, would make it worthy of an extra star.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
No where near enough detail of the historical sites. It's all about her and her boyfriend travelling in a VW.Published 14 months ago by L Crisp
Im enjoying reading this. For me its just the right mix of history, geography and personal stories, and im looking forward to trying to find some of the lesser known sites.Published 14 months ago by Carole
This is a lovely book. It is part archaeological survey and part travelogue. Along the way Charlotte Higgins fills in with brief biographies of the antiquarians and archaeologists... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Anthony K. Divey
Although I missed Charlotte Higgins' talk, I bought this at the Harrogate History Festival. A modern examination of what Roman Britain means to us today, plus a camper van - what a... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Alison Morton
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