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on 17 July 2014
entertaining, informative and fun.
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on 5 September 2014
Interesting and concisely written. A noble attempt I would say to encourage the study of Classics. I hope it succeeds.
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on 21 March 2016
A good meta-analysis of the main themes, characters and background to Greek and Roman classicism.
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on 19 May 2013
Thoroughly enjoyed this book but cannot see it as suitable for the general reader without a background in Latin and Greek.
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on 12 September 2015
Some interesting information and insights but a lot of rather ordinary text to wade through.
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on 3 April 2016
Wonderfully written!
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on 23 March 2015
As always Mary delivers a very informative read
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on 12 June 2013
Not surprisingly, as it is a collection of lectures by the author, the book lacks coherence. However, each of the lectures gives a fascinating personal view on a variety of classical topics. Mary Beard is one of our foremost classicists and her insights shed light on some controversial areas; for this reason the book is well worth reading. It is, however, one to dip into from time to time rather than reading from cover to cover. Finally, unlike Prof Beard's recent TV programmes, this book is not really for the general reader.
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VINE VOICEon 13 May 2013
Mary Beard really is a gem. This is a collection of her essays (or reviews) of literature around topics such as Cicero and Nero. In each piece she takes the role of Professor attending a viva and, in good humour, agrees, disagrees and takes to task top writers in their classical field.

Throughout, Beard - and this is where the effortlessness comes in - shows off her own scholarship and academic style. She makes me regret not reading Classics under her. As a result of the broad range of topics covered, this stands as an incredibly strong introduction to classical historiography in general and you'll come out of this book with twenty more books to add to your reading list.

A must-have for the amateur-classicist and students of the field alike.
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on 14 September 2013
I do have some background, having studied Latin and Greek as far as a first year reading classics at Cambridge. (It was 30 years ago that various circumstances - not dissimilar to those being encountered by young people today - forced me to change to law.) For me the book worked very well as an update of issues and controversies. However it is so engagingly and accessibly written that I am sure no previous background knowledge would be needed to enjoy it as an overview of contemporary classical scholarship and indeed for the insights this can give into our present world.
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