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Publisher's Summary

This is the story of the greatest empire the world has ever known. Simon Baker charts the rise and fall of the world's first superpower, focusing on six momentous turning points that shaped Roman history. Welcome to Rome as you've never seen it before - awesome and splendid, gritty and squalid.
From the conquest of the Mediterranean beginning in the third century BC to the destruction of the Roman Empire at the hands of barbarian invaders some seven centuries later, we discover the most critical episodes in Roman history: the spectacular collapse of the "free" republic, the birth of the age of the "Caesars", the violent suppression of the strongest rebellion against Roman power, and the bloody civil war that launched Christianity as a world religion.
At the heart of this account are the dynamic, complex, and flawed characters of some of the most powerful rulers in history: men such as Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nero, and Constantine. Putting flesh on the bones of these distant, legendary figures, Baker looks beyond the dusty, toga-clad caricatures and explores their real motivations and ambitions.
©2006 Simon Baker; foreword by Mary Beard copyright 2006 by Woodlands Books Ltd (P)2016 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Well written, clear, and succinct." ( Library Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Marc on 05-24-17

good overview

Obviously, it is impossible to cover everything about Rome in one book. However, this book did a good job of covering a lot of the highlights. recommended

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Tad Davis on 08-01-17

Clear and dramatic

Simon Baker tells the story of Ancient Rome by focusing on a series of dramatic turning points. These turning points are surprisingly well-documented, and Baker describes them with gusto. The Gracchi brothers, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Constantine, and Stilicho (somebody I'd never heard of) all spring to life. Baker's usual technique is to set the scene with a gripping anecdote and then go back and fill in the background and context.

It probably wouldn't pass muster as a general survey, but it served my purposes. My grasp of Roman history was weak, informed mostly by Shakespeare and Ridley Scott. It's still not strong, but at least now I have a framework to use for further exploration.

Chris MacDonnell narrates clearly and with sustained energy. I look forward to hearing other books that he narrated.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By DSellers on 11-08-17

Worth more than one listen

A concise, yet comprehensive overview of the history of Rome. Does not dwell too long on a particular era and offers balanced views and assessment of the sources available. Well read. I will definitely be listening to it again in full, in the future, having just completed it.

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4 out of 5 stars
By John on 07-30-17

Comprehensive yet eminently listenable

A history with a broad sweep, yet with fascinating details and strong connecting themes. Clear reading with some minor irritations over some disruptive metric:imperial conversions, which are a bit clunky - more a function of the text than the narration.

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