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The Appian Way: Ghost Road, Queen of Roads (Culture Trails: Adventures in Travel) Hardcover – April 23, 2012


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The Appian Way: Ghost Road, Queen of Roads (Culture Trails: Adventures in Travel) + The Appian Way: From Its Foundation to the Middle Ages (Getty Trust Publications: J. Paul Getty Museum)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Layer upon layer, Italy’s storied past unfolds in Robert Kaster’s captivating journey along the venerable Queen of Roads. I cannot imagine a more perfect guide to such a rich trove of ancient and modern memories. Illuminating, erudite, entertaining, and evocative.”

(Adrienne Mayor, author of  The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy)

“How many Great Pyramids match the earth moved to make the greatest Roman road? Many more than you think—until you have read Robert Kaster’s The Appian Way: Ghost Road, Queen of Roads, a work of erudite classical commentary as well as excellent advice for travelers today."—Peter Stothard, author of On the Spartacus Road, A Journey through Ancient Italy 

(Peter Stothard, author of On the Spartacus Road, A Journey through Ancient Italy)

"Fascinated by Rome's greatest road as a monument to power, death, and remembrance, and determined to trace its path today, Kaster makes a first-rate guide through time and through space, through the layers of history and the jostling of diverse cultures from Rome to Brindisi, from Appius Claudius the Blind to Kurt Vonnegut. En route, travelers should award him 5 stars for the clarity of his exposition, the accuracy and concision of his lightly-worn erudition, and the charm and relevance of personal anecdotes and striking observations. Many books will lead you down the Appian Way, but this should be the one to start your journey."

(Edward Champlin, Princeton University)

"A wonderful preface for any traveler planning an outdoorsy day in Rome or, especially, a trip through southern Italy. Kaster's enthusiasm for the road and the people (past and present) who populate it is contagious."


(Library Journal)

“This delightful, literally lightweight book takes you on a brief journey from Brindisi in the heel of Italy's boot to Rome; but what an engaging journey!”


(Times Higher Education)

"Slim but evocative. . . .  Kaster proves himself a knowledgable and engaging guide on this journey through the past and present of Italy."
(P. D. Smith Guardian)

About the Author

Robert A. Kaster is professor of classics and the Kennedy Foundation Professor of Latin at Princeton University.

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Product Details

  • Series: Culture Trails: Adventures in Travel
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (April 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226425711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226425719
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,088,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. Saverino on June 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robert Kaster's account of the ancient Appian Way is part-history, part-travelogue and part-personal anecdote. He is essentially following a road that is, for the most part, buried five meters underground, partially restored in some of the historical parts of Rome, but mostly gone. His account is mostly useful as a travelogue to those of us who choose to take the roads more commonly travelled in Italy -- mainly in Tuscany, Rome and the Amalfi coast. He demonstrates that there is beauty to be found in some of the less-travelled routes, such as in Puglia.

The main problem I have with this book is that it lacks adequate maps detailing the places that he travelled, as well as a historical chronology, making it difficult to visualize and to follow along as a reader. Since the author is following a road that is essentially non-existent, he chooses to list the places he visits rather than map them in detail.

Although insightful and with some historical details, this book lacks the information to be either a book of history or a travelogue. By failing to be one of these, it falls a little flat; it's fine for a "light holiday read", but it's not what I would consider to be recommended reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Luciani on September 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just returned from Rome and The Appian Way was my companion. Wonderful book; learned, historical and beautifully written. If you go to Italy, don't leave home without it. You'll thank me later.

Patrick Luciani
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mas01 on February 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a very good personal experience combined with history. Kaster's experiences are interesting and well-described. I also bought the illustrated book, "The Appian Way: From its Foundation in the Middle Ages" (Getty Trust Publications). It was fun to reference back and forth between the descriptions and the illustrations.
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Format: Hardcover
A short, endearing account of a "Classical viaggio" by a lifelong Classicist. Bob Kaster manages to combine the authority of someone who has studied Roman culture his entire life with the wide-eyed naivete and amazement of someone just discovering Italy - which, it turns out, he really was. As another reviewer has noted, the book is not a thorough examination of the history or current state of the Via Appia, but a breezily written compendium of historical anecdote and travel journal. It's like talking to your favorite old professor about his summer - very pleasant and definitely recommended. A great gift for the Latin teacher or budding classicist and an inspiration to get out and see those old roads for yourself.
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