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Rubicon | [Tom Holland]

Rubicon

The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness: the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall.
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Publisher's Summary

The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness: the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall.

Tom Holland brings to life this strange and unsettling civilization, with its extremes of ambition and self-sacrifice, bloodshed and desire. Yet, alien as it was, the Republic still holds up a mirror to us. Its citizens were obsessed by celebrity chefs, all-night dancing, and exotic pets; they fought elections in law courts and were addicted to spin; they toppled foreign tyrants in the name of self-defence. Two thousand years may have passed, but we remain the Romans' heirs.

©2003 Tom Holland; (P)2007 Hachette Audio

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  • Twl Jones
    1/17/11
    Overall
    "Poorly abridged"

    Having flirted with bits of the book itself in fits and starts for quite some time, I had been greatly looking forwarded to making my way through Tom Holland's enlivening gift for telling a much larger story through the prism of a fund of anecdotes that you could dine off for a month.

    I was badly disappointed, however, when (having listened for ten minutes or so) I had to flick around to see how I'd possibly missed the first of these anecdotes to appear in the text - the story of Caesar crossing the Rubicon which gives the book its name. It turns out that I hadn't missed it - in fact it wasn't there at all! Quite how you could sit down to abridge a book and decide that something which the author considered important enough to name the book after should be left out is beyond me, but it isn't the only thing missing. Within the first couple of chapters it became apparent that any deviation from the most basic possible account of the period is missing - the death of the Gracchi, for instance.

    Although it still makes for an interesting(ish) listen, and Andrew Sachs is of course very good, that scarcely makes up for the lack of flair which seems to give the book its character.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Christian
    Sollentuna, Sweden
    6/13/11
    Overall
    "History as it should be"

    This book goes through the fall of the roman Republic and ends with Caesar Augustus. Sachs does a great job at narrating the book and does so without ever loosing his focus on the story telling. Both the story and the analysis of happenings are really good. The only thing that made me sometime loose track is the sheer number of people accounted for in the story. But then again, history as we know it consist (more or less) by the people inhabiting times long since passed. It makes me want to listen to it again!

    I truly recommend it to anyone who's interested in Roman history!

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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