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Herculaneum: Past and Future Hardcover – May 1, 2011

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Herculaneum: Past and Future + The Complete Pompeii (The Complete Series) + The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Located between Naples and Pompeii, the town of Herculaneum was also destroyed by Mount Vesuvius' eruption in 79 C.E. This sumptuously illustrated book—including panoramic views stretching across four pages—provides an in-depth geological, architectural, and historical look at what is known about the town and its inhabitants, constituting the first book of its kind since Joseph Jay Deiss's 1966 study. The head of the Herculaneum Conservation Project, Wallace-Hadrill illustrates how its villas and apartments reflect status differences, how the numbers of freed slaves exceeded the freeborn so that Romans "fretted about the excessive number of ex-slaves making their way into citizenship, not unlike European anxieties about illegal immigration." Also included are a history of architectural efforts at Herculaneum, dating back to the early 18th century; a comparison of the city and Pompeii—Herculaneum is portrayed as "a place of greater wealth and sophistication"; and a discussion of conservation efforts. As important as the text are the color photographs of streetscapes, homes, and other buildings, and art (some of the latter seem strikingly modern, such as a silver portrait bust of the Emperor Galba). Perhaps the book's only flaw is the occasional unexplained reference, such as the intriguing "three good luck phalli" found in a bakery. Overall, however, one could hardly ask for a clearer, more comprehensive, and better illustrated guide to Herculaneum. (May)


'beautifully illustrates the history of the excavations and vividly brings to life the stories of the slaves and the elite.' -- Sarah Lancashire Daily Express "shows how important this Roman town is to our understanding of everyday Roman life' Good Book Guide 'A comprehensive and beautifully illustrated account of what we know and understand about Herculaneum' Sunday Telegraph 'this is a fantastic book ... the photograph is spectacular. Author Andrew Wallace-Hadrill has copious credentials to make him an authority on this subject making it pretty hard to beat in this area.' Will remain the essential reference point for the study of Herculaneum for the forseeable future. Burlington magazine It would be hard to imagine a more informative study of Herculaneum. TLS

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln; F First Edition Used edition (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711231427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711231429
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.2 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Hunt on May 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Herculaneum: The forgotten city. Covered by the fallout from Mount Vesuvius in 79CE, it is a virtual treasure trove of information. Amongst its many features are six story buildings nearly two millennium old and still standing, fifty-meter long sections of sewer wholly preserved, loaves of bread petrified by pyroclastic flow, skeletons, tile mosaics artwork, history and culture. Herculaneum has always lived in the shadows of Pompeii. Until now.

I've just finished pouring over Dr. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill's most recent publication Herculaneum: Past and Future (Francis Lincoln Limited). The hardcover volume rings in at 352 pages and is brimming with information. From the first page, you can tell that this publication is a labor of love.

Those with the slightest familiarity of Roman archaeology know Dr. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill. For the past 30 years, he has worked tirelessly to make known the particulars of Roman life. From 1991 to 1995 he edited the Journal of Roman Studies, the leading journal of Roman history and culture. His noted works include Houses and Society in Pompeii and Herculaneum (1994) one of my core University textbooks, Suetonius (1995), and Rome's Cultural Revolution (2008). He is one of the leading experts in Roman social and cultural history and is currently serving as Master at Sidney Sussex College at the University of Cambridge.

In this latest publication, Dr. Wallace-Hadrill writes from his own perspective, explaining the most meticulous details about life in Herculaneum in a way that any reader can grasp. Hadrill breaks down the remnants of the city section by section, highlighting the physical remains of a massive archaeological site and the interpretations that can be derived from it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Joseph L. Steffen on September 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
During an all too brief 2.5 hour self-guided audio tour of Herculaneum this summer, towards the end I felt I was just rushing through the remaining buildings taking photos and just glancing at the frescoes, mosaics, and architecture before I had to get back to the tour bus. I was telling myself that I would find a book on Herculaneum back home and leisurely study it. After getting every book in my library system mentioning Herculaneum, I was disappointed in the little information, photos, and diagrams available, until I saw this book. One glance at the all-color photographs, and I felt like I was there again! The 11x37" foldout panoramic photographs of the site and buildings give the feel of standing there slowly turning around trying to take it all in, only now I can return again and again in my mind. The 23x27" foldout color-coded site map makes it easy to find the location being discussed in the quite readable text to any layperson interested in history. I especially appreciated that photographs of the location being discussed would be on the same or next page (unlike many books where I am flipping pages trying to find the matching photos). Buy this book now before it goes out of print, or you will regret not having your own copy in the future!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Atchison on June 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is amazing. The photographs are beautiful and the text is fascinating. Finally, we have a new book on Herculaneum by the top expert. We've seen him in "Secrets of the Dead" on the cities of Vesuvius on PBS and now here is his book. It's a huge volume and the price is really low for something of this size and scope. We can thank the foundation that sponsored it. I could not get enough of this book and have read it over and over again. If you love Herculaneum this book is for you. It's easy to read and well written. I only have one beef - I did not care for the panoramic pictures that fold out. These panoramic pictures distort reality and they don't do a good job in picturing the ruins. Maybe it was the lens they used. They're hard to open up as well. One panoramic would have been enough.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Serene Night on April 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked up this book after the review in Archeology Magazine. I have long been interested in Pompeii, Herculaneum's sister city, and having pretty much exhausted literature on that famous city, I was interested in the story of Herculaneum. First, let me say this is a very meaty tome. 350 pages of great pictures and interesting insight into the city. The photography is quite stunning. There are quite a few fold out pictures with panoramic photos of the city, particularly the seafront.

Sadly, Herculaneum is just not as sensational as Pompeii. The city's artwork is looted, and the frescos damaged and less vibrant. There are many pictures of damaged buildings without a lot of reconstructive artwork to show how they may have appeared so a lot must be left to the imagination. The photography of this damaged wonder is well-done, but it is hard to envision what the houses and rooms looked like so often one is left looking at pictures of damaged rubble. I would've liked more artistic renderings of what the towns and shops and the people might have looked like in addition to the photos.

The writing style was a bit dry and a bit academic. In this kind of book, I want to know about the ancient people and their lives. I was particularly disappointed in the chapter on the inhabitants which could've been really good. Overall there is an distant feel to the writing which limits the readability at least for me.

This was an interesting book. I liked the photography, was lukewarm about the written parts, and felt it could've been improved by a less detached writing style and more insights into the Herculaneum's citizen's way of life.
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