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History of Rome Paperback – 1978

29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0023456107 ISBN-10: 0023456108 Edition: 0th

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Previously published by Macmillan.

About the Author

Michael Grant (1914-2004) was a historian whose over forty publications on ancient Rome and Greece popularised the classical and early Christian world. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, served in intelligence and as a diplomat during the Second World War, and afterwards became deputy director of the British Council's European division, when he also published his first book. He later returned to academia, teaching at Cambridge and Edinburgh, and serving as Vice Chancellor at the University of Khartoum and at Queen's University, Belfast. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 537 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall (1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0023456108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0023456107
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 93 people found the following review helpful By unraveler on October 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
I think this book is brilliant. Michael Grant does not leave the reader wondering "What happened in Rome?" All the basic historical information that a beginner, or even someone more sophisticated, may want to know about Rome is here in this book. This is not as much a textbook, as a sophisticated popular history of Rome, which in my opinion is the strength, and not a weakness, of this volume. It's easy to see throughout the book where the facts are narrated and where their interpretation begins and ends. I do not agree with all of Grant's interpretations. For example, he occasionally induldges in amature psychology, i.e., attributing to the Romans a sadistic side to their national character. I do not think this has anything to do with "national character," but rather it is more likey to be, at least latently, present in the human character in general. I also disagree with his assessment of Cato the Elder and his argument that Carthage was destroyed primarily out of revenge that was fueled by Cato's personal enmity to Carthage and by the scars left by Hannibal in Rome.
Overall, the book is an easy and entertaining read, covering military, political, artistic, and religious sides of Rome. Although I have a Ph.D. in a social science, I have refreshed my knowledge about Rome in this book and learned a number of new, interesting facts. Definitely recommednded for anyone who wants to know more about Rome.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey H Gannon on May 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
Before exploring the depths of Roman history it's important to grasp the sheer breadth of it. As one of the few one volume histories of Rome this book is a great starting point for the study of Roman history. Obviously, detail has to be sacrificed in an overview (which is really what this book is). But, Grant sneaks a surprising amount of details into this one. Due to the structure of the book and the reader friendly narrative style he employs it's easy to miss many details. He often mentions a battle in a single sentence (just date, location, victor). But, such a clipped pace is required when writing a history of this magnitude. Of course, I have a few qualms. Like most historians, Grant can't help but pass judgement on the Romans for their brutality. He would have been better off including a few lines describing a particular incident of brutality, instead of moralizing. Also, he falls into another common trap, near the conclusion losing the narrative thread, and focusing more on the reasons for Rome's fall. Lastly, the book includes a mix of narration and analysis. Grant's narration is some of the best writing in a history of Rome. However, his analysis stands in stark contrast. He's at his best when he weaves (social) analysis in with straight narration. Early on he does this. Later, he slips up a bit. While the majority of the book has a definite cinematic feel, the last quarter or so is rather choppy and (on occasion) dry. Despite its faults, this is by far the best book covering the whole of Roman history. Buy this book before you buy any other history of Rome. Then, use it to find the periods you'd like to explore in depth. From there, you can choose from many modern and classical sources. But, without first reading through a history of Rome from founding to fall, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the many histories out there. Grant's book is the perfect introduction to Roman history. Nothing more. Nothing less.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Tim Kidd on June 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is very accessible for someone with a strong interest in Roman history, but little background in the subject (like myself). Like the other reviewers, I agree that "History of Rome" is more of a primer to Ancient Rome than a detailed scholarly analysis.
But, as primers go, it is very thorough. Grant discusses the political, economical, and military aspects of Roman life relatively equally. His timeline encompasses the entire span of Roman history (a breathtaking era).
Furthermore, unlike many historians, Grant includes the cultural side of Roman life. He gives almost equal weight to Vergil, Horace and Ovid as to many political/military figures. This gives a more human aspect to ancient Rome, which, though like modern society in many ways, still seems so remote to us.
Grant's writing style can get a bit dull, but the book flows well
and is hard to put down. History may be more exciting than drama at times, but telling it is often more difficult. Grant can hardly be blamed for not keeping the reader at the edge of his seat all the time.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Eduardo Antico on March 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
I bought this book, out of all places, at the bookstore in Ara Pacis. I thought to myself, "heck, I am now living in Rome. I should learn some of its history."

At that time I was ignorant and unconcerned with the history of Rome, and its impact on civilisation as we know it to-day. This book changed my views of the city completely. Grant presented all events, documented and conjactured, very much in detail. Yet, he managed to present almost 1300 years of Roman history (it covered the period of roughly the formation of the Roman Kingdom 800 BC to the "fall" of the Western Roman Empire AD 476), in less than 500 pages. Not a single word was wasted, and because of that, he was able to keep my concentration. The maps were quite useful, and had just enough information without being totally cluttered and unreadible.

The only complaint I have, was that in many occasions, he assumed a basic knowledge on Roman social structure and major and minor historical events. But this did not make the book too difficult to follow. Aside from that, I enjoyed reading the book, over and over again.
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