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Publisher's Summary

William Shakespeare's gripping play showed Caesar's assassination to be an amateur and idealistic affair. The real killing, however, was a carefully planned paramilitary operation, a generals' plot put together by Caesar's disaffected officers and designed with precision. Brutus and Cassius were indeed key players, but they had the help of a third man - Decimus. He was the mole in Caesar's entourage, one of Caesar's leading generals, and a lifelong friend. It was he, not Brutus, who truly betrayed Caesar.

Caesar's assassins saw him as a military dictator who wanted to be king. He threatened a permanent change in the Roman way of life and in the power of senators. The assassins rallied support among the common people, but they underestimated Caesar's soldiers, who flooded Rome. The assassins were vanquished; their beloved Republic became the Roman Empire.

©2015 Barry Strauss (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Strauss takes us deep into the psyche of ancient history in an exciting, twisted tale that is sure to please." ( Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 03-24-15

Absorbing

On March 15, 44 B.C., Julius Caesar fell to the knives of Brutus, Cassius and perhaps 21 other senators. Strauss’s book covers only a three year span of time. Starting the year before the ides of March to the battle of Philippi two years later, when Brutus, defeated by pro-Caesar forces, took his own life.

The author of this historical study tries to capture the tension of an unfolding crisis but also runs into strong headwinds when it comes to questions of character and motive.
The author points out that thanks to William Shakespeare, the death of Julius Caesar is the most famous assassination in history. Shakespeare shows Caesar’s assassination to be an amateur and idealistic affair. Strauss points out that the real killing was a carefully planned paramilitary operation; a general’s plot put together by Caesar’s disaffected officers and designed with precision.

The author tells of a key person, Decimus. He was the mole in Caesar’s entourage, one of Caesar’s leading generals and a lifelong friend. According to Strauss it was he, not Brutus, who truly betrayed Caesar. Strauss sheds new light on this fascinating pivotal moment in Roman history.

The book is superbly researched and well written. The author paints clear portraits of all the main characters such as Mark Antony, Decimus, Brutus, and Octavian. The book raises as many questions as it tries to answer. Robertson Dean narrated the book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JackMargo
  • St Petersburg, FL, United States
  • 06-01-16

Just . . . Great!

Great history lesson. If all history was so well written, history would be the most popular major in colleges across the land.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Splendid account of a story I thought I already knew

I thought I knew all about Caesar's death, thanks to Shakespeare. How wrong I was!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Gasping for air

The narrator's mediocre vocal presence, often straining to complete his sentences on depleted air, makes not attempt to invest his listeners with the high dramatic values inherent in this history. Monotone drones on and on till, thank god, the drone is done. Pity.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent History, Brilliantly Told

This is an excellent book with detailed history regarding Caesar’s assassination on the floor of the Senate House. Much discussion is dedicated to the motivations of the killers, many of whom rode with Caesar during his crossing of the Rubicon. In particular, the discussion of Decimus Brutus (not the infamous Marcus Brutus) who was, by all rational accounts, the worst traitor of all, betraying his friend for cold ambition rather than any high-minded ideas over the dying republic. He has become the forgotten assassin, which is odd considering his pivotal role in the plot.

The book is also a remarkably quick read considering the wealth of information within. It’s never overly verbose; rather, it is eloquently told. The discussion of Caesar’s funeral is especially interesting and must have been quite a thing to see. Politics today is truly boring by comparison.

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  • BDHumbert
  • Fort Pierce, FL, United States
  • 03-13-17

Fascinating

Listen.
I had the Shakespeare's version of Caesar firmly embedded- but this provided some context and depth

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Riviting read, did't want it to end.

What made the experience of listening to The Death of Caesar the most enjoyable?

Just a good story.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Death of Caesar?

He let's you in on his sources, quickly without too much detail.

What about Robertson Dean’s performance did you like?

Just did fine.

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

Yes

Any additional comments?

It was exciting to go through this story once again. I know my Roman history but I felt I need to learn more. This book didn't let me down. Fun, entertaining, informative.

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Well done

The story of Julius Caesar takes many turns and this is a truly great way to understand what happened and how the many players were involved. Narration is excellent. Well done.

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Great book!

this is a great overview of the whole cesarean era and his rise and fall. I found the narrator's voice a bit too deep and would have to constantly turn my bass down in order to clearly hear him. I also found his storytelling a little uninspiring. but it's serviceable job, nonetheless.

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Excellent telling of a compelling story

This is a very clear and concise telling of the assassination of Julius Caesar. The narrator does a first class job. I have been intrigued by these events since a teenager and I found this to be the best account I have read or heard. I highly recommend it. I leave for Rome in three days where I can still see many of the landmarks.