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Brief But Boring
on 24 November 2014
This book is very dry, it reads like an encyclopedia entry, just a long list of facts with no colour or background detail to make it interesting. While the content includes a fairly comprehensive list of names, dates and events reading it from cover to cover is tedious in the extreme. As you might expect the book only covers the period of the Empire (rather than the Republic) and does so in chronological order starting without much preamble with Julius Caesar.
No attempt is made to provide any background detail about the people or the society of Rome. Brief explanations about Roman politics, military organisation and certain terminology are included only when it becomes essential to the text, making it extremely difficult to reference at a later date. There are no discussions of the events related or any attempt to add anything new here.
There are much better classical historians writing at the moment - Mary Beard and Alistair Moffat for example. If you want a more comprehensive (although equally dry) book on the Roman Empire there is always Gibbon's "Decline and Fall". Either way I would not reccomend this book either as a good read, or as a fully comprehensive account.