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A New Look at Herculaneum,
This review is from: Herculaneum: Past and Future (Hardcover)
Apart from largely out dated guidebooks there is little literature on the amazing site of Herculaneum. Until recently the site was in a terrible state, a condition that would probably have led to its closure to the public. Fortunately, thanks to Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Dr David Packard and the Italian State and Local Authorities, a programme of repair, restoration and consolidation has been implemented. Wallace-Hadrill's book, Herculaneum, not only explains how the site came to such a sad pass and how the newly-introduced programme is intended to reverse the decline, but also recounts the history of the town - its destruction, discovery and excavation - describes the public and private buildings, introduces the rich and poor inhabitants, compares the town with Pompeii, and casts an eye on the future. In the words of the author: "For our own generation, it is enough to appreciate the extraordinary value of the treasure that has already been dug up, to look after it as it merits, and to pass it on to future generations." The book is lavishly illustrated with both new and old photographs, including several that fold out to 4xpage size, and contains many useful plans and drawings. It is well written in a style that will satisfy the interested amateur as well as the academic. Given that the only other serious books on Herculaneum were written many years ago - at the beginning of the Twentieth Century by the Cambridge professor, Sir Charles Waldstein, and in 1985 by the American, Joseph Jay Deiss, one-time Vice Director of the American Academy in Rome - Wallace-Hadrill's "Herculaneum" is, without doubt, the most important account of this fascinating town ever written. It is well worth the cover price.