Top positive review
93 people found this helpful
A Tour de Force in Roman History
on October 14, 2000
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.