©1992 Time-Life Books, All Rights Reserved; (P)1998 Time Warner AudioBooks; ©1998 Time Warner AudioBooks (Packaging Only), A Division of TimeWarner Trade Publishing
This short (90 minute) history of Pompeii and it's destruction is very good. Pompeii: City Captured In Ash was perfect for my one day in and out commute. The ensemble cast recreates the life and death of these 1st century Romans using the still life casts and messages left behind as the last moments of their lives were captured forever.
This great little book will leave you wanting to know more. I have queued up Robert Harris' Pompeii: A Novel in "My Next Listen" so that I can keep exploring this facinating example of how our environment can turn on us without warning at any moment.
This audiobook read by David McCalum and others brings the inhabitants of 79 AD Pompeii to life in the listener's imagination. Because there were few written accounts of the disaster, the dialogues are fictional but based on the surviving records and grafitti from the ruins.
I found this book very interesting the building of characters very well done. It was well read, and in no time at all I was engrossed in the adventures of the aquarius, and the build up to and through the eruptions. One of Audibles better books. I highly recommend it to any who likes history.
Addicted to Audible since 2009
Just like the Titanic this story always gives me goose bumps except this was even worse because the trajedy happens to an entire city.
I love this book! The fact that it is not someone just reading on in monotone notes, but intertwines characters as if in some play, makes it an outstanding audiobook. This book makes Pompeii come to life. Excellent read. I wish I could find some more books like this.
(may contain some spoilers)
An excellent book, perhaps not as tightly written as Enigma or Fatherland. A fairly linear plot, but the interest was well maintained. Impressive descriptions of Roman engineering. It makes you realise just how much we take fresh water for granted.
I suspect that much of the plot was lifted from a TV documentary called "Private Lives of Pompeii" screened in 2002. In this documentary there are the same freed slaves, traders, politicians, social structure - even private baths and water theft get coverage. Harris does acknowledge numerous ancient and modern texts, though, and anyone who visits Pompeii is told these same stories of the Pompeii people.
This book is essential reading for anyone wishing to be a civil or environmental engineer, or a vulcanologist. The whiff and menace of gaseous sulphur is in the air, and the science seems accurate, unlike the ridiculous "Dante's Peak" in which the lake suddenly became concentrated sulphuric acid (SO2 forms the weak sulphurous acid anyway) and then dissolved an aluminium dinghy (aluminium will only dissolve rapidly in caustic solution).
The engineer (aquarius) is a bit goody two shoes. I prefer the main protagonist to at least have to grapple with sexual and moral issues. The love interest is also somewhat wooden. On the other hand, scenes of feasting and the excesses of the wealthy were well done, and Pliny the Elder was well characterised. "Fortune favours the brave", he said, as he sailed directly for Pompeii and his own death - making this one of the most widely misquoted pieces of advice ever. In Australia, football commentators have corrupted this saying to "Luck's a fortune" which is a meaningless expression, is it not ?
Overall, this was a book well worth listening to. Very thought provoking, never boring. I would recommend it to anyone, even though you know the mountain has to erupt. That does not really matter to the development of the plot.
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