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.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving. Love the reviews.
Having been completely captivated by Robert Graves' "I Claudius" when I was young, first as a book and then in the brilliant Masterpiece Theatre series, I'm afraid I was a fairly tough audience for this entirely workmanlike and respectable biography of the pivotal Augustus. It is completely unfair and foolish to compare history with historical fiction--different rules and different objectives. Nonetheless, I could have hoped for a style and approach which were somewhat more evocative of the world in which Augustus operated. Almost all of the context here is political or military which is somewhat disappointing when you are dealing with an era which is so rich in so many other ways. Of course the historian is limited by the available sources, but I think Everitt could have utilized a good deal more of the available material on the social and physical milieu of the times.
Nonetheless, I never found my interest flagging. The presentation of the material was coherent and there is more than enough fascinating detail to draw one along. Where the historical record is too scanty to provide definitive answers to key questions, the author speculates, carefully laying out the evidence for alternative theories and making some tentative judgements about the most likely answers in a way which leaves paths open for further speculation.
So while this is certainly not a riveting account of Augustus’ life, it is definitely worth your time and credit if you want a solid introduction to the subject.
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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.
I've listened to many history books. Some of them are boring, some are too detailed and I lose interest but not this one. I always want facts and this book delivers and that's a fact.
Octavian was an interesting figure but then again the Roman history is interesting in itself.
If you love history, then this is a great book. If your thing is Roman history, then this is a no brainer.
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.