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A Noise of War: Caesar, Pompey, Octavian and the Struggle for Rome Hardcover – April 9, 1994


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (April 9, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671708295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671708290
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Sweeping from Marius and Sulla to the death of Cicero, Langguth (Patriots, S. & S., 1989) portrays the major political figures of the late Roman Republic. Unfortunately, he vacillates between attempts at popular biography and critical history, his style shifting abruptly between novelistic and annalistic as he strings factual comments together like beads. Errors of fact, chronology, and interpretation abound. For example, Caesar's age is inconsistently chronicled, and the definition of patrician is outdated and inaccurate. Popularization should at least be distinguished by a clear message or lesson, but here there is little to justify the dubious attempts at oversimplification. Apparently intended for interested lay readers, the book cannot be recommended.
James S. Ruebel, Iowa State Univ., Ames
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Langguth's narrative of the fall of the Roman republic begins in 81 B.C. with the confrontation of Julius Caesar and the dictator Sulla and the emergence of Marcus Tullius Cicero. Langguth then proceeds, through a series of progressively graver crises and progressively closer approaches to one-man rule, to the emergence of Caesar as supreme power. The intrigues and wars that followed constitute hardly more than an epilogue, for the republic was dead. Caesar and Cicero are the focal figures in Langguth's version of that story, but a host of other memorable actors are vividly portrayed. Langguth's concern throughout is readability, and this he certainly achieves. Fans of Colleen McCullough's massive fictional coverage of the same events will find Langguth's work a valuable companion to hers. Roland Green

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Stapleton VINE VOICE on July 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for two reasons: Pompey's campaign against the Cilician pirates (5 pages) and the bibliography (8 pages). While I was a little disappointed in the brief coverage of the campaign, I was not disappointed in the bibliography (I have ordered several books from it already).

Readers should understand that this is not an extensive volume on the history of Rome during the lives of Caesar, Pompey and Cicero. It is, however, a wonderfully told brief overview of those times. Consider this as a starting point for the novice to Roman history in the first century BC. The author writes in an easy style that makes the book very readable. Langguth makes the occasional effort to get inside the heads of the various protagonists, but for the most part confines his efforts to presenting the details of history as is appropriate for an overview history. The history is told in sequential order skipping back and forth between the main personae and traces their rise to power and eventual fall from grace. There is just enough detail to whet the appetite for more.

For further reading on Caesar and the times try Caesar by Christian Meier. P-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Gazala VINE VOICE on February 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"A Noise of War" is historian A.J. Langguth's largely successful and consistently engaging chronicle of the last half-century of the Roman Republic, after which the word "Caesar" changed from mere familial name to a title adopted by a long succession of Roman (and other) emperors. The book covers the tumultuous period in the vast Roman Empire between Sulla's dictatorship and Octavian's ascendency in the wake of Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 BCE. More than 2,000 years have passed since this story's principal players (Caesar, Pompey, Cicero, Marc Antony, Brutus, and Cleopatra) shaped their world, and yet today their notoriety remains sufficient that their names populate the databases of every modern spellchecker. Reading this book provides a good sense of why that's so, for as Caesar said, "Experience is the teacher of all things."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RTOG on July 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. I have read many books on Rome. This book was fantastic. Excellent. If you are only going to read one book about Rome, this should be it. After I finished it, I bought five copies to give to friends who were not interested in history to give them the one book I thought they should read. The general background about Rome is excellent. You learn facts like; Roman women did not have individual names. It is the reason there are so many Julia's, a female of the Julian family, Claudia, a female of the Claudian family and so on. And the book explains much more.
The story of Caesar, Pompey and Octavian, the subject of the book, is an epic story and this book tells it in an epic manner. If you don't know Caesar from the salad, don't worry this book will explain every detail, clearly. This book is not just an excellent history, it is a wonderful story told well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GG on December 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This was a wonderful read. It is NOT the best book if you want a detailed account of the history of Rome during this time, but it does give a great overview of Caesar's life and several key events of the time. The best thing about the book is the way it is written, with a nice easy style that does not bore you. A serious student of history would likely want something more detailed, but for the casual reader, or, for someone who wants a refresher on this time period it is great. I highly recommend it.
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