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Publisher's Summary

Emerging as a market town from a cluster of hill villages in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C., Rome grew to become the ancient world's preeminent power. Everitt fashions the story of Rome's rise to glory into an erudite book filled with lasting lessons for our time. He chronicles the clash between patricians and plebeians that defined the politics of the Republic. He shows how Rome's shrewd strategy of offering citizenship to her defeated subjects was instrumental in expanding the reach of her burgeoning empire. And he outlines the corrosion of constitutional norms that accompanied Rome's imperial expansion, as old habits of political compromise gave way, leading to violence and civil war. In the end, unimaginable wealth and power corrupted the traditional virtues of the Republic, and Rome was left triumphant everywhere except within its own borders.
Everitt paints indelible portraits of the great Romans - and non-Romans - who left their mark on the world out of which the mighty empire grew: Cincinnatus, Rome's George Washington, the very model of the patrician warrior/aristocrat; the brilliant general Scipio Africanus, who turned back a challenge from the Carthaginian legend Hannibal; and Alexander the Great, the invincible Macedonian conqueror who became a role model for generations of would-be Roman rulers. Here also are the intellectual and philosophical leaders whose observations on the art of government and "the good life" have inspired every Western power from antiquity to the present: Cato the Elder, the famously incorruptible statesman who spoke out against the decadence of his times, and Cicero, the consummate orator whose championing of republican institutions put him on a collision course with Julius Caesar and whose writings on justice and liberty continue to inform our political discourse today.
Rome's decline and fall have long fascinated historians, but the story of how the empire was won is every bit as compelling. With The Rise of Rome, one of our most revered chroniclers of the ancient world tells that tale in a way that will galvanize, inform, and enlighten modern listeners.
©2012 Anthony Everitt (P)2012 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Everitt takes [listeners] on a remarkable journey into the creation of the great civilization's political institutions, cultural traditions, and social hierarchy.... [E]ngaging work that will captivate and inform from beginning to end." ( Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mike From Mesa on 12-11-12

Rome from the fall of Troy through Julius Caesar

While I have read a reasonable amount about Roman history (the rule of the Emperors from Augustus through Claudius, the three Punic Wars and, more specifically, Hannibal’s invasion of Rome and the subsequent Roman invasion of North Africa to destroy Carthage) I had never read a real history of the rise of Rome. Since I was preparing to (finally) read Gibbon’s Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire I thought it was time to learn how the Roman Empire came to be before I read how it ceased to be. I bought this book for that specific purpose.

Mr Everitt has written a wonderful and enjoyable history of Rome from its beginning (actually from the fall of Troy) through the beginning of the civil wars at the time of Pompey, Julius Caesar and Octavian. While I was looking forward to reading this I was also somewhat apprehensive because I remembered how dull Roman history classes were when I was in school. I worried about a book made up of dates and events, especially since I would be listening, not actually reading, but I should not have worried. Mr Everitt has built this book around the individuals and events that constitute Roman history rather than a series of dates and that decision worked really well. Had High School history been presented like this I might have paid more attention.

Mr Everitt has broken down the story of the rise of Rome into 3 separate sections – Myth (starting from the fall of Troy and Romulus and Remus), historic legends and known historic facts and the whole fits together seamlessly into a very interesting story. There was much about Roman history that I never knew – Alexander The Great’s plans to “teach” the upstart Romans a lesson by invading, how Rome grew from a small settlement into the global superpower of the time, how the Romans held Italy together as subject peoples in spite of their being outnumbered and much else. I had read a good deal about the Punic Wars but never knew, until I read this book, why Rome forced Carthage into the third war.

The narration is very well done and the book very enjoyable. While it is not a “heavy” history it is also complete enough to not be “light” reading. I feel comfortable recommending this book to anyone with an interest in this period of time.

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27 of 27 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Darwin8u on 08-17-13

A Messy Graveyard for A. Everitt's Rome detritus.

There is no doubt Anthony Everitt knows his Classical stuff. His previous books: 'Cicero' and 'Augustus' were amazing. 'Hadrian' aimed high, but didn't quite hold up to the first two. The Rise of Rome signals a severe decline in Everitt's popular Roman history, IMHO. The book is messy. His narrative begins with Section I (Legend) a review of the legends and foundation myths surrounding the rise of Rome. He then jumps into a review of 'big themes' as Rome's politics, warfare, and society develop.

IN this second section, He isn't interested in the history, rather he attempts to construct the narrative STORY of history. He tries (and fails) to draw a distinction between Section II (Story) and Section III (History), but the last two thirds of the book are really one, story-driven, narrative slog through 1000 years of Roman history and personalities.

The problem is Everitt tries to present 1000 years of Rome's rise in less than 500 pages and fills almost 67 of these pages with foundation myths, etc. The best parts of this book are those pages when he is talking about Rome's great enemy Hannibal, the problem is those pages are 50 pages less spent on the actual direct topic of his book.

Fundamentally, Everitt's biggest failure is the standard high school and college freshman failure. He starts with far too big a topic and devotes to it too little space. He tries for a sweeping history of Rome and only delivers a shoddy, uneven narrative. IN the end, the book feels like a graveyard for Everitt's unpublished background material for previous books or aborted histories.

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25 of 26 people found this review helpful

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