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Publisher's Summary

Emerging as a market town from a cluster of hill villages in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C., Rome grew to become the ancient world's preeminent power. Everitt fashions the story of Rome's rise to glory into an erudite book filled with lasting lessons for our time. He chronicles the clash between patricians and plebeians that defined the politics of the Republic. He shows how Rome's shrewd strategy of offering citizenship to her defeated subjects was instrumental in expanding the reach of her burgeoning empire. And he outlines the corrosion of constitutional norms that accompanied Rome's imperial expansion, as old habits of political compromise gave way, leading to violence and civil war. In the end, unimaginable wealth and power corrupted the traditional virtues of the Republic, and Rome was left triumphant everywhere except within its own borders.

Everitt paints indelible portraits of the great Romans - and non-Romans - who left their mark on the world out of which the mighty empire grew: Cincinnatus, Rome's George Washington, the very model of the patrician warrior/aristocrat; the brilliant general Scipio Africanus, who turned back a challenge from the Carthaginian legend Hannibal; and Alexander the Great, the invincible Macedonian conqueror who became a role model for generations of would-be Roman rulers. Here also are the intellectual and philosophical leaders whose observations on the art of government and "the good life" have inspired every Western power from antiquity to the present: Cato the Elder, the famously incorruptible statesman who spoke out against the decadence of his times, and Cicero, the consummate orator whose championing of republican institutions put him on a collision course with Julius Caesar and whose writings on justice and liberty continue to inform our political discourse today.

Rome's decline and fall have long fascinated historians, but the story of how the empire was won is every bit as compelling. With The Rise of Rome, one of our most revered chroniclers of the ancient world tells that tale in a way that will galvanize, inform, and enlighten modern listeners.

©2012 Anthony Everitt (P)2012 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Everitt takes [listeners] on a remarkable journey into the creation of the great civilization's political institutions, cultural traditions, and social hierarchy.... [E]ngaging work that will captivate and inform from beginning to end." (Booklist)

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Rome from the fall of Troy through Julius Caesar

While I have read a reasonable amount about Roman history (the rule of the Emperors from Augustus through Claudius, the three Punic Wars and, more specifically, Hannibal’s invasion of Rome and the subsequent Roman invasion of North Africa to destroy Carthage) I had never read a real history of the rise of Rome. Since I was preparing to (finally) read Gibbon’s Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire I thought it was time to learn how the Roman Empire came to be before I read how it ceased to be. I bought this book for that specific purpose.

Mr Everitt has written a wonderful and enjoyable history of Rome from its beginning (actually from the fall of Troy) through the beginning of the civil wars at the time of Pompey, Julius Caesar and Octavian. While I was looking forward to reading this I was also somewhat apprehensive because I remembered how dull Roman history classes were when I was in school. I worried about a book made up of dates and events, especially since I would be listening, not actually reading, but I should not have worried. Mr Everitt has built this book around the individuals and events that constitute Roman history rather than a series of dates and that decision worked really well. Had High School history been presented like this I might have paid more attention.

Mr Everitt has broken down the story of the rise of Rome into 3 separate sections – Myth (starting from the fall of Troy and Romulus and Remus), historic legends and known historic facts and the whole fits together seamlessly into a very interesting story. There was much about Roman history that I never knew – Alexander The Great’s plans to “teach” the upstart Romans a lesson by invading, how Rome grew from a small settlement into the global superpower of the time, how the Romans held Italy together as subject peoples in spite of their being outnumbered and much else. I had read a good deal about the Punic Wars but never knew, until I read this book, why Rome forced Carthage into the third war.

The narration is very well done and the book very enjoyable. While it is not a “heavy” history it is also complete enough to not be “light” reading. I feel comfortable recommending this book to anyone with an interest in this period of time.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 08-17-13

A Messy Graveyard for A. Everitt's Rome detritus.

There is no doubt Anthony Everitt knows his Classical stuff. His previous books: 'Cicero' and 'Augustus' were amazing. 'Hadrian' aimed high, but didn't quite hold up to the first two. The Rise of Rome signals a severe decline in Everitt's popular Roman history, IMHO. The book is messy. His narrative begins with Section I (Legend) a review of the legends and foundation myths surrounding the rise of Rome. He then jumps into a review of 'big themes' as Rome's politics, warfare, and society develop.

IN this second section, He isn't interested in the history, rather he attempts to construct the narrative STORY of history. He tries (and fails) to draw a distinction between Section II (Story) and Section III (History), but the last two thirds of the book are really one, story-driven, narrative slog through 1000 years of Roman history and personalities.

The problem is Everitt tries to present 1000 years of Rome's rise in less than 500 pages and fills almost 67 of these pages with foundation myths, etc. The best parts of this book are those pages when he is talking about Rome's great enemy Hannibal, the problem is those pages are 50 pages less spent on the actual direct topic of his book.

Fundamentally, Everitt's biggest failure is the standard high school and college freshman failure. He starts with far too big a topic and devotes to it too little space. He tries for a sweeping history of Rome and only delivers a shoddy, uneven narrative. IN the end, the book feels like a graveyard for Everitt's unpublished background material for previous books or aborted histories.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Terrific book, absolutely terrible narrator

If you could sum up The Rise of Rome in three words, what would they be?

Epic, Interesting, Unlistenable

Who was your favorite character and why?

None of note. It is an historical work.

Would you be willing to try another one of Clive Chafer’s performances?

No. His British newscaster singsong delivery ending each sentence on exactly the same two-note pitch throughout the entire book was horrible.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Excellent story, Excellent Narration

Would you listen to The Rise of Rome again? Why?

Yes. I would most definitely listen to it over again. And I am. It is a great overview of the Early years and the end of the republic.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Appius Claudius Caecus "The Blind"

Which character – as performed by Clive Chafer – was your favorite?

He didn't really play a character. This is a history book.

Any additional comments?

I really liked this book. But my opinion must be taken with some scrutiny, as this is my first audio book. But I guess I'm not far from the average as this book has an average overall rating of 5 stars. The Narrator has such a voice that if feel he should have narrated my life , I would have payed him for it. his sort of English aristocratic demeanor brings the Rise of Rome to life for me at least. many have commented that he has a sort of two-tone type of voice and never changes. Might i remind you people that this is a historical narrative and not "Fifty Shades of Grey" or the like. if you don't like that then you are reading the wrong book. Not to say this book cannot be extremely exciting. For example, the tale regarding the "Caudine Faux" (probably spelled incorrectly) where the Romans are caught in a pass and are forced to walk "with one item of clothing each" through a gate of spears while being jeered and laughed at by Vulsci soldiers. or when Gaius Decius Mus commited "Devotio" by pulling his toga over his head and riding into the enemy to ensure victory by sacrificing himself. Its tales like these that kept me glued to my earphones. But its all in your own opinion. <br/><br/>If you are fascinated by Roman History at all then you will be delighted by this "lite" retelling of Romes historic rise and domination of Italy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sean
  • SOUTH JORDAN, UT, United States
  • 10-30-12

excellent

What did you love best about The Rise of Rome?

It's detail

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Rise of Rome?

The insanity of some of the leaders

What does Clive Chafer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He makes you know when something is important

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes

Any additional comments?

no great audiobook

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Ed Gibbon should be proud

An excellent narrative of the rise of Rome as a Roman might see their own history. Excellent read. Great listen, I advise both to really digest and evaluate this great work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Carpe Diem

How does an obscure backwater surrounded bt hostile enemies conquer the world? Anthony Everitt tells us the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well played

Not only is it well written and a cool, organized story, but the narrator is also great, especially for me to fall asleep to, and I really mean that in a good way!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not a pea of fact beneth a mattres of invention

This book is thorough, and it gives you a feeling for the people and their lives. I highly recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Douglas
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 10-22-15

A Very Informative Intro to History of Rome

Originally, I set out to read Gibbons' "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," however I quickly realized that I didn't have anywhere near the prerequisite knowledge of the RISE of the Roman Empire. Thus, I began this book.

However, I soon realized that I wasn't familiar enough with the 3 most famous epic poems concerning the Greeks and Romans, namely The Iliad, The Odyssey, and the Aeneid. So I went back and reread those 3.

I do feel like reading those epic "myths," if you will, really helped me to understand the first portion of this book which concerns the part of Roman history which is--for all practical purposes--fictional.

The author has done an amazing job of gathering all of this information about Rome's history, and he does a very good job laying it out for the reader. It can be very confusing at times, but I feel like that is almost inevitable. As the author points out in his introductory chapters, there's just no getting around the fact that Roman names make things very confusing. That, and the fact that most of the "nations" or city states discussed in the book are going to be very obscure for the majority of readers (even those who are well versed in history), can make things hard to handle. The listener may feel the need to go back an reread some parts of the book (I certainly did).

There are parts of the book that are dry, specifically the parts detailing Roman laws and government, but there's hardly anything the author can do about that. Furthermore, there are more than enough juicy anecdotes and stories to keep the reader entertained more or less throughout.

I think Clive Chafer does a good job as narrator and is very well suited for this book. One of the things that I always want from a narrator is for him to make me forget that he isn't actually the author. I feel like Chafer accomplishes this.

I gave this book 4 stars rather than 5, but for those who are deciding whether or not to buy this audiobook, you may as well consider my 4 a 5. I finished this book feeling like I didn't get as much as I would have liked out of the last half, but to be honest, that's probably more about me not having any prior knowledge of the subject than anything on the author's part.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful