This is a serious and well researched Biography of a man most of us know as the villain of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra and the old fool in I Claudius.
It is eminently clear from Augustus, that he was a born power broker and getter. If he was corrupt it was the kind of corruption we still see in the political arena. The US does not see much in the way of political assasination, but it is certainly a way of life in many countries today just as it was in Rome. This book is very well worth the read.
If Augustus did not did not exist, a novelist would have had to invent him. A truly extraordinary life. The book is far more detailed on his rise to power than his life as the creator of the Rome the movies have made familiar to generations of fans. In part that may be a result of the extraordinary power Augustus exerted over the history of Rome once he was the last man standing when Anthony died. All in all, a great adventure!
A well written and well narrated history of Augustus. Definitely worth a credit. Highly recommend.
An excellent biography of one of the most important persons in all of human history. Beautifully told and brilliantly read. Not only highly enjoyable but factual with caution.
This is a great book about the man who created the Roman Empire. Granted there are a few fictitious parts dealing with Augustus's death that I did not care for. Also he is more lenient on Livia's the wife of Augustus than I would have been. I have always found her a detestable and manipulative woman
For me this book was at its best when it deals with the young Augustus and his formative years. In his youth it would be hard to imagine that this sickly boy with no military skills would nevertheless triumph over far better known opponents like Mark Anthony and eventually be the last man standing after the civil wars are over. It makes one wonder what latent talents Julius Caesar must have seen in the the young Octavian to make him his heir -- and a worthy heir he turned out to be.
Augustus had an iron fist in a velvet glove. He got his way without ever seeming to dominate the various political entities in Rome. He was a skilled politician who knew his own limitations and thus surrounded himself with the most able people for the job who would complement and supplement his own talents.
In Marcus Agrippa he found a brilliant military leader who more than anyone defeated Antony and Cleopatra at Actium while Octavian lay sick in his tent. It was Agrippa who created. built, and trained the fleet which would win Actium. Also Agrippa was responsible for an enormous rebuilding of Rome and constructed the Pantheon and the Baths of Agrippa.
However, like all those able men who surrounded Augustus, they never attempted to outshine him, but rather let him take the credit. In their own way they were as skillful at politics as Augustus himself.
Everitt thoroughly explortes not only the personality and political skill of Augusted himself, but he also gives us great portraits of the able men he surrounded himself with -- Agrippa, Maecenas etc. This is a well-rounded book since it focuses on all aspects of Augustus' rule and the heartbreaking inability of the great man to have a worthy successor.
This is probably the best book ever written on the man, but also on the birth of Imperial Rome,
The narrator is outstanding and gives the right nuance to the author's word. If you are atll interested in this period of Roman History this book should not be missed.
Law Student . Favorites Genres are Fantasy, Historical, Sci-Fi, and Classics.
Augustus is perhaps the most historically significant figure in western civilization.
In "Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor," Everitt weaves a very harmonious narrative about the life of Rome's princeps. Proceeding chronologically, Everitt begins with a short history of Julius Caesar's career. What follows is essentially a day to day account of the life of young Gaius becoming the elderly Augustus. Along the way the reader encounters many semi-mythic figures including Agrippa, Sextus Pompei, Cleopatra, and of course Marc Antony. The biography finishes its narrative with Augustus attempting to ensure his dynastic ambitions.
The novel is an excellent in-car read for classics enthusiasts. It paints a vivid and colorful picture of what the life of Augustus was probably like. My biggest complaint, is that this book reads more like a best seller and less like a text book. That is not to say that this work has not been well researched, only that the author does not frequently stray from his interpretation of the truth to acknowledge other understandings of what might have taken place. This aides in readability (or listenability?), but detracts from the intellectual, or more specifically, historical, merit of this work.
TL;DR: The book is not a masterpiece of historical research, but it makes for a fantastic listen for enthusiasts of Classics, Rome, or Western Civilization.
Certainly brought to life the characters. I happened to be in Rome during the listen so it really deepened my experience of the city and ruins. I am not a history buff so I do not know if all facts are true but it was certainly very believable. Enjoyed the read very much.
This is a fascinating book about one of history's most significant figures. I studied Roman history extensively in college, but most histories gloss over so many of the most fascinating years of Augustus' life. Everitt's book delves into them and more. It's a compelling, enjoyable, and even-handed appraisal of the man's life an times. A perfect follow-up to the book Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland, which is another great audiobook.
This was my first audio, biography. My favorite is normally historical fiction. I have read several David Mucullough historical books and loved them. This was close but not quite as good, but then again it could be the audio. One of my biggest limitations was trying to keep everyone straight. This is in no way a fault of the author, I felt he did a stupendous job, it has more to do with the way the Romans where name. All the divorcing and marrying within the family also made it hard to keep everyone straight. I will say it left me wanting to here more history of Rome.
Mr. Everett synthesizes the various accounts of Rome's first emporer's life into an understandable narrative. The complex aspects of his life including the not mutually exclusive characteristics of opportunistic egomaniac and innovative just ruler are explored. An ugly picture of the barbarism of the ancient world becomes obvious. This book helped me understand the roman empire from the perspective of a great pivotal time, from the end of the old republic, through the civil wars, and the foundation of the empire.