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on 12 February 2017
This is a disappointing book on several levels. The prose style leaves something to be desired; much more irritatingly, if it's been run past any proofreader at all, the publishers should be demanding their fee back. Repeated quotations of identical passages (of which there are many) differ for no particular reason; the Latin is erratic; and there are numerous other errors. Early on there is a reference to "gladiatorial farces." I can see that as a piece of polemic, but in context it appears without any such implication at all, just to mean "gladiator shows."

Worse than that is a problem maybe (though I'm not convinced) inseparable from the very idea behind the book. There isn't that much hard evidence to go on in some ways (hence "Invisible.") For literary sources the author relies for the great majority of the time on the curiously yoked set of the New Testament, along with a manual for would-be interpreters of dreams, and two novels, one highly satirical and one deliberately fantastic. While it's certainly possible to mine such sources to reveal the underlying assumptions of their authors and shed light on what their society was *really* like, Knapp doesn't display much evidence of understanding the numerous traps for the unwary involved in doing so.

Apart from that, there's an awful lot of what is frankly padding.

I got very tired of his habit of prefixing the word "elite" every single time he refers to any classical author. Seriously. Every time. OK, Knapp! I get it! They were elite!
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on 2 October 2016
I have to reluctantly agree with other reviewers that the author's writing style isn't the greatest. There are points at which this book becomes a bit of a slog, but for the most part, it's fine. I don't think it's so awful that I wouldn't recommend this book because the information itself is fascinating.

We do not often get a view into the world of the regular, everyday people in the ancient world. History is written by the elite, so what comes down to us is often tainted by prejudiced, short sighted, and relentlessly snobbish people that are writing to glorify themselves, a patron, or an enemy whose name they want to blacken. Careful research, the teasing out of information from both fiction of the time and actual accounts give us a broader picture of the ancient world, and in this, Knapp succeeds.
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on 14 June 2017
Enjoyed it. Worth a read.
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on 23 March 2013
After Mary Beard's Pompeii this is the book to buy to get a real insight into Roman life 2000 years ago.
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on 7 August 2013
Altogether, I would recommend this book which I bought for research. The author does a marvelous job with the material, illustrating the lives of the ordinary people who have fallen through the cracks in the history left by the likes of Julius Caesar.
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on 2 November 2016
heavier reading than I expected.
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on 23 March 2015
Great read
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on 15 May 2013
Throws new light on the real Romans - including the fact that most were not Roman or even Italian. The chapter on the gladiators is particularly interesting, but then so are all the others!
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on 18 December 2014
Very long winded. I keep skipping bits and flicking through to find interesting bits. Not an author I would buy again, but others may like his style.
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on 1 April 2014
This was a present and nice to get something on Romans that is not about senior figures in roman society.
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