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The Fall of Rome: A Novel Paperback – January 7, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is the figurative fall of "Rome" or the crumbling of the world, as three central characters know it, which is at the core of the gripping debut novel by Martha Southgate. Selected for the "Discovering New Writers Program" at [store], "The Fall of Rome" is a fictional drama set at the Chelsea School, an elite, predominantly white boarding school in upstate New York. I took particular note of this story since the boarding school experience was a part of my educational past, as well.
A fluently told story, which deals with complex issues in a direct and honest way, "The Fall of Rome" is a quintessential coming of age story, but adds the quest for racial identity as a focal point.
Rashid Bryson, a troubled African-American who takes on prep school life to fulfill his parents and brother's dream, is emotional unprepared to deal with the changes in himself, the ignorance and bias of others, as well as the obstacles presented by those who on the surface would appear to be friend and not foe.
Having immersed himself in a school culture embracing the philosophy of ancient Rome, namely a society based on racial egalitarianism, Rashid must delve below the surface of his teachers and colleagues to determine who is an ally and who is an enemy. He quickly learns that individual merit should be determined by the spirit and loyalty of an individual rather than skin color.
By the end of "The Fall of Rome", Rashid learns the lesson ancient Roman Cicero purports: "by doubting we come at truth," Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 AD - 43 AD).Read more ›
It's really 4.5 stars but one doesn't get that option here.
Jerome Washington is the only African American faculty member and a teacher of Latin at the prestigious Chelsea. He comes to Chelsea to escape life defined by race, as he had known it to be, and to pursue excellence and comfort in the ideas and standards of the ancient philosophers of Rome and the traditions of Chelsea. Rashid Bryson, a fourteen year-old boy from New York City comes into an unfamiliar environment of Chelsea with fear and a heavy heart looking to Mr. Washington as a possible salvation. Jana Hansen is a new teacher at Chelsea who has seemingly taken an interest in both Jerome and Rashid; Jerome as a potential mate and Rashid as a student with potential. As they get to know each other all three soon find out when one is in unfamiliar territory one should have no expectations. Their journey together is plagued with certain expectations misdirected in the midst of their own personal losses. When their issues lead up to a powerful, and anticipated confrontation we find that the results are unexpected but ultimately not surprising.
This book is complex and layered. There are so many things that could be discussed that one review couldn't cover it all. I can fully see this book as required reading in an English, Philosophy, or Sociology class in high school and college. It is beautifully written and unhurried. The only thing that keeps this book from a 5 star rating is my personal issue with how certain relationships within the book were portrayed. Aside from this, The Fall of Rome by Martha Southgate is a highly recommended read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've bought this book three times. It's a great read and a nice gift to give.Published 26 days ago by e
This is one of my favorite books. I hope it becomes a contemporary classicPublished 1 month ago by LGS
I guess this is what you sometimes get when you pay a penny for a book. The cover was moldy and falling off and there are mold spots in a few pages. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Meg Rutkowski
Kind of dry at times. Story line was good. It just goes to show we really are a product of our environment unless we change it.Published 21 months ago by Aunty Kim
Excellent read. Good pace. Very interesting topic. Highly thought provoking. Interesting character examination. Read morePublished on December 12, 2013 by Randal
The stories and characters' backgrounds were engaging. I wanted to hear more about them as a continuing story. I hope there's more to come!Published on October 6, 2012 by Bernice Alexander
About a 3rd-of-the way through this, what I can *now* term, this oddly "thick", deceptively well-crafted, non-trivial work - I was about to put the book away and label it... Read morePublished on May 4, 2012 by SD Ponder
This book was assigned reading for school. It had to be ordered because it was an out of print book. I made the mistake not to get overnight shipping. Read morePublished on November 28, 2011 by mom
The story of three people who are different on the outside but struggle on the inside with some of the same kind of pain. Read morePublished on August 23, 2010 by Judaye