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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I, Claudius did so many things right: getting under the skin of the people of the time, bathing in the uniqueness of the time period, maintaining an honest depiction of the cultural milieu.
The master storyteller amuses and entertains with a collection of stories which includes: "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg", "The Double Barrelled Detective Story", "The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", "The Million Dollar Bank Note", "Benton and Mills", "A Tale", "Cannibalism in the Cars", "The Stolen White Elephant", "The Man Who Put Up at Gadsby's", "The Good Little Boy", "The Bad Little Boy", and "Baker's Blue Jay Yarn".
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
Mark Twain's genius is lost a bit in the hackneyed performances that try too hard to "perform" the characters rather than present the story. Also, the selection of his stories seems to lack some of his most colorful.
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Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes 'unstuck in time' after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.
What did you like best about this story?
Coming to terms with whether Slaughterhouse Five floats through time or through psychology--or both--is both the genius and joy of the book.
Imagine you could travel back to the 14th century. What would you see? What would you smell? More to the point, where are you going to stay? And what are you going to eat? Ian Mortimer shows us that the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived. He sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking you to the Middle Ages. The result is the most astonishing social history book you are ever likely to read: evolutionary in its concept, informative and entertaining in its detail.
What made the experience of listening to The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England the most enjoyable?
For me, history comes alive when I can understand the world in which people lived. While there's not a lot of "story" here, Mortimer does a great job of painting a picture of what the century would have been like, especially coming from our perspective. He says that one cannot truly understand one's own century without first coming to know two others. I think that is true.