From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10–Twenty-six chapters covering the history of Rome from its founding to its fall make this volume somewhat more inclusive than many other works for this audience. What makes this book accessible is the lively writing. The story of Spartacus and his slave revolt, for example, is told without embellishment, but in a narrative form that brings it alive. Many quotes from ancient writers also add interest. Chapters on gladiatorial games, business, and class conflict balance other more purely historical sections covering emperors, wars, and conquests. The numerous illustrations include full-color photographs and reproductions of sites, artifacts, period artwork, and an occasional movie still. There are also a number of simple maps. A comprehensive index adds to the book's usefulness for research and reports. Don Nardo's From Founding to Fall: A History of Rome
(Lucent, 2003) is less comprehensive.–David Pauli, Hillsboro Public Library, OR
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Gr. 7-10. Numerous books deal with ancient Rome, but this volume from the World in Ancient Times series has the advantage of being more readable, more complete, and more attractive than most. Printed on thick, white paper and with full-color photos, the book begins with the founding of Rome (and the legends surrounding it) and includes chapters on important figures, such as Julius Caesar, Augustus, Hadrian, and on such topics as the Etruscans, the evolution of the republic, Greek influences, slavery, and the rise of Christianity. Unfortunately, in chapter on Christianity, the blame for the crucifixion moves from a mildly portrayed Pilate to the Jews, and biblical accounts are relied upon rather than historical ones. That aside, the book is more accessible than many volumes on the subject; the writing is quite engaging, with plenty of sourced quotations. It's a promising start to a new series, to be followed by volumes on China and Greece, which will also be written by a historian in tandem with an author who writes for young adults. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved