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I, Claudius | [Robert Graves]

I, Claudius

Here is one of the best historical novels ever written. Lame, stammering Claudius, once a major embarrassment to the imperial family and now emperor of Rome, writes an eyewitness account of the reign of the first four Caesars: the noble Augustus and his cunning wife, Livia; the reptilian Tiberius; the monstrous Caligula; and finally old Claudius himself. Filled with poisonings, betrayal, and shocking excesses, I Claudius is history that rivals the most exciting contemporary fiction.
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Publisher's Summary

Here is one of the best historical novels ever written. Lame, stammering Claudius, once a major embarrassment to the imperial family and now emperor of Rome, writes an eyewitness account of the reign of the first four Caesars: the noble Augustus and his cunning wife, Livia; the reptilian Tiberius; the monstrous Caligula; and finally old Claudius himself and his wife, Messalina. Filled with poisonings, betrayal, and shocking excesses, I Claudius is history that rivals the most exciting contemporary fiction.

©1934, 1961 Robert Graves; (P)1987 Recorded Books

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  •  
    Diane Iron Station, NC, United States 03-10-12
    Diane Iron Station, NC, United States 03-10-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Period Story set in Rome"

    These are both well written - I,Claudius first and then this one. Great detail, excellent story and narration. My only note is that they are long and sometimes slow and too much story and details and you wish they would get one with it but overall great period piece.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Roseville, CA, United States 01-13-11
    Scott Roseville, CA, United States 01-13-11 Member Since 2006

    Don't you just love a great story well told?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Roman History"

    I'm writing this long past when I read it to mention that it was SO good and so interesting that it had a lasting impact on me. Any book that does that has to be worth enjoying. This man led an amazing life and describes epic events in Roman history, an amazingly clever intelligent person even though he was looked down upon because of his physical problems and lack of noble birth. Well narrated and edited, a worthy addition to anyone who loves non-fiction and knows that indeed truth can be far more wonderful than fiction.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LeSLiE Hillsborough, NC, United States 11-05-10
    LeSLiE Hillsborough, NC, United States 11-05-10 Member Since 2007

    QUESTION : DOES LISTENING TO AUDIO BOOKS MAKE YOU SMARTER? If so, I'm. Freakin Genius!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Really Good Book!"

    I have had book my Audible Library for sometime, but for some reason or another I hadn't listen to it.
    I didn't realize what a interesting book it was.

    Those crazy Romans. You name it they did it, twice sometimes.

    FYI: Even though this book is based on actual historical events. It is a book of fiction. It is very well written and the narrator was great.

    I would recommend this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Utah 07-17-10
    Amazon Customer Utah 07-17-10 Member Since 2009

    tired teacher

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    "History lesson/intriguing story"

    I sure learned a lot about Roman history from this book. I enjoyed it very much. Should you decide to read it, I suggest you write down each character and who he/she is, and the parents, etc., as you read because it is very easy to lose track of the characters in this book and how they each fit in.

    Did you know that Caesar means "Head of Hair"? and Julius Caesar was bald! Just one of many facts I gleaned from the book.

    The narrator, Nelson Runger, was good. There might be some better ones available, though, like Derek Jacobi. But I did enjoy Mr. Runger a lot.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John S MA 01-10-14
    John S MA 01-10-14 Member Since 2005

    Avid audible listener for over 10 years.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great historical novel but hard to follow"

    If you like historical novels this is a good listen. The one issue is that there are so many characters to follow and the names are confusing. The timeline bounces around from past to present fairly often.

    You will have to have some interest in Roman history to enjoy this book. Since it is historical, it gives you an interesting view of politics in ancient Rome. If you think things are bad in Washington D.C. are bad, you only need to hear what goes in the Roman Senate to understand how bad it used to be. The main character, Augustus, the self appointed emperor of the Roman Empire rules as a puppet to his wife, Livia. From there it goes downhill with tiberius and Caligula. When they someone stabbed you in the back, they actually mean it, you get stabbed in the back by your brother, wife, father, son, etc. If not stabbed literally, you are exiled to the far reaches of the Roman Empire. Augustus sends his own daughter into exile for being too promiscuous.

    It was a rather brutal lot who ran ancient Rome so you can understand why the Roman empire collapsed

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Oak Ridge, NJ, United States 04-26-13
    Carol Oak Ridge, NJ, United States 04-26-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Good Story, Well-read"

    It's astounding how horrible the Romans were. This book explains the reasons well and makes the listener, identifying with Claudius, feel safe from the violent family rivalries, since we know he's going to last until the end. Very entertaining.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Milwaukie, OR, United States 10-28-12
    Kristi Milwaukie, OR, United States 10-28-12 Member Since 2011

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Racy story tamed down."
    What did you like best about I, Claudius? What did you like least?

    I enjoyed the intimate details about the various Ceasars. I got bored with the one person narrative after awhile. For so many salacious details it got pretty boring. I thought the PBS show was much better than the book it was based on.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Less description and more action.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed Claudius and Calpurnia's interactions, especially when she lent him all the money he had paid her over the years.


    Did I, Claudius inspire you to do anything?

    Look into Bernard Cornwall's Roman books. I bet he will do much better.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evelyn SAINT GEORGE, UT, United States 10-08-12
    Evelyn SAINT GEORGE, UT, United States 10-08-12 Member Since 2010

    Evelyn

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    "I, Claudius"

    It's easy to see why this is a classic. We learned so much about ancient Rome, and the story is fascinating. After hearing this book, we promptly bought Claudius, the God, with the same narrator, to hear the rest of the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 08-23-12
    Barry Petaluma, CA, United States 08-23-12 Member Since 2006

    My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I wish all history was this enjoyable to read"

    Graves does an absolutely brilliant thing here. He pretends to unearth Claudius's lost memoir, and recreates it as the most enjoyable exposition of Roman history you will ever come across. Claudius as a chatty overlooked figure in his own time is just the sort of friendly gossip you would love to have tell you about the current events of his own life and times. I mean 'gossip' in the nicest way possible. Yes, there is plenty of tabloid interest here, but that only serves to remind us that all times have had tabloid stories. And everyone knows the Romans certainly had their share. This book only takes us up to the moment when Claudius is declared emperor, so it's told as an outsider looking on at all the power struggles with no serious vested interest of his own. And up until the end he has no reason to think that he ever will be an important player in the political happenings of his time. Graves's ability to bring all these characters to life in a believable way and stay true to the historical facts is an incredible feat and thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan Monument, CO, United States 03-06-12
    Bryan Monument, CO, United States 03-06-12 Member Since 2005

    ColoradoRight

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    "Compelling and Masterful Tale"

    This is a gripping tale of suspense and intrigue about the lives of the first Roman Emperors. Told from the perspective of the fourth emperor - Claudius - this historical fiction is a spectacular review of Roman history described in contemporary terms.

    Every since Robert Graves first published this in 1961, it has been considered one of the best historical fictions. I remember rushing back home every Sunday in the 1980's to watch the BBC/PBS version that was being broadcast. I have a copy of the book and the TV series, but listening to this copy of the book reminded me just how much I enjoyed the story. Mr. Graves was a talented story teller, and from the beginning you are drawn completely into his historical world.

    The narration is wonderful, and I highly recommend this as worth anyone's time. And don't forget the second half of the story - Claudius, The God

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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