This book provides an introduction to life in the Roman Empire by focusing specifically on the history of the Tenth Legion -- an elite fighting force of Spaniards that was raised by Julius Caesar and continued on for more than a hundred years after his death. By focusing on the lives of soldiers in ancient Rome, we learn a lot about the lives of the common people, rather than just the aristocracy. The Tenth played a part at most all of the significant battles of the time, including in the conquest of Gaul, the Civil Wars, and the destruction of Jerusalem, so the book is rich in Roman military history. The author is careful to counter the self serving and exaggerated claims of glory that Caesar himself reports in his book "The Conquest of Gaul" with the reports from other historical sources, which tempers Caesar's hyperpole and likely paints a more accurate portrayal of events. It helps if you have some overall knowledge of the history of the death of the Roman Republic and the birth of the Empire, but this is not essential. This book is an excellent read!
Instead of a serious treatment of a medically important and scientifically historic disease, this book reads more like a werewolf story. For example, there is a detailed description of the surgical decapitation of a dog (to obtain brain tissue test for the virus) that adds nothing but gore to the story. And the hydrophobia stories read like something from the "Exorcist." If you're looking for a horror book, you'll like it. But if you're looking for a serious nonfiction treatment of a very important virus, keep looking.
They should have stuck to the historical narrative without the sensationalized interludes. It's as though they didn't believe that the history of the science alone was enough to captivate the reader. They were wrong.
This book is not nearly as good as the author's previous two books on ancient Romans -- "Augustus" and "Cicero" -- likely for two reasons. Hadrian was not as interesting a person as Augustus and Cicero were. But also, there is much less historical information available about the life of Hadrian. The author seems, therefore, to have needed to heavily rely on the "Historia Augusta", which is a notoriously unreliable source. To make up for the deficit of information the author has speculated to fill in the gaps, which is fine. But unfortunately, the author chose to speculate less on subjects of great cultural significance like Hadrian's Wall and the Pantheon -- Hadrian's two most famous architectural achievements -- and more on Hadrian's homosexual relationship with the young boy, Antinous. We learn a lot about the mores of homosexual behavior between men and boys in Greece and Rome, much of which seems only tangential to Hadrian's story. Perhaps this done was to spice the story up a bit, because compared to the bad emperors, like Nero and Caligula, the highly competent Hadrian is a little boring. In any event, the book is worth the read, and I look forward to the author's next work. I just hope he picks a more interesting subject that has more reliable historical sources available. [I would suggest Marcus Aurelius.]
This is a book that should have been edited down to half its size. There is way too much detail on minutia of events that are only tangential to the main story line. Louis Zamporini's life is certainly a great tale and the book is very good, but it could have been much better without all the "filler". If fact, you can skip the first quarter of the book entirely (his childhood), begin reading at his running in the Olympic games in Germany, and have a much better book (or screenplay). I'm not one to read abridged books, but in this case I wish I had.
This book had a lot of potential to address the very important issue of children being alienated from nature. Unfortunately, its approach is entirely anecdotal, with few hard facts. Furthermore, it often wonders far off topic (e.g. the alleged health benefits of owning a pet).
This book wanders all over the place. It starts with a very interesting hypothesis about how embryonic development of a chicken might be manipulated to recreate the morphology of dinosaurs (i.e the great great grandfathers of birds), but then it digresses. The author is not content to educate us about dinosaurs. We're also told about Clovis people, Lewis and Clark, buffalo hunting, a dog attack by a beaver, Indian use of horses, etc. etc. It also is full of silly analogies (e.g. post-meteorite earth is compared to the wild West). I could only get halfway through it. If there's no thief like a bad book, then this is the John Dillinger of books. If you're interested in dinosaurs, Audible has several good books. Unfortunately, this isn't one. Hard to believe the author (Jack Horner) had the assistance of a professional writer (James Gorman). I'm sure Horner could have done this badly on his own.
If you're wondering what ever happened to Holden Caufield, here's your answer. He's still living in New York, still exposing phonies, and he's taken up fly fishing as psychiatric therapy. This second volume of the cathartic journeys of an ex-NY Times editor is a snoozer. Best to let this one get away.
This was a surprisingly dark book. Although punctuated by humorous antecdotes, virtually every story has a morbid and depressing aspect to it. The "guys" in this book are carrying some serious psychological baggage, and none seem able to resolve their issues to any satisfaction. Although very well written, the stories are far from light entertainment, and should probably be avoided altogether by those with melancholic tendencies. These stories take us to places very far from Lake Wobagon. Perhaps that was the author's main intent.
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