This is a strangely-organized book. It starts out as a detailed history of the titular fire, but that has burned its way through the book by the halfway point. The second half of the book is a straight-forward biography of Nero's life from the fire onward, with some flashbacks to his earlier days. It's a little plodding in the second half, and you'll learn a lot of details about how various Roman nobles killed themselves. A lot.
The narrator is clear and easy to follow, but rather stilted and very dry. Not particularly engaging at all.
The author makes some interesting deviations from the conventional wisdom on Nero's killing of Christians. I can't judge whether or not he's likely to be right, but he weirdly places the argument for his changes in the introduction and then in the main narrative presets his version as pure fact, without reference to any debate amongst historians. I found that off-putting.
A really intriguing look into the mind of both the psycopaths and the people who study them. Ronson reads his own work here, which is occasionally a little rough but more than makes up for the fact with the added pathos he brings. Great listen.
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