"Now comes a distinguished contribution to the field by the British journalist and classicist Peter Stothard. Spartacus Road
is a work of history, telling us of Spartacus' life and legend, but it is also a travel book, as Mr. Stothard follows Spartacus' rebellious path through 2,000 miles of Italian countryside... Ancient history often comes to us in this form--as a kind of mosaic that we must piece together for ourselves, as Mr. Stothard has done so well here. And it still arouses modern passions. Mr. Stothard's engaging book reminds us that, for all the secrets the story of Spartacus refuses to give up, it still leads us back to the heart of things."--The Wall Street Journal
"By the time one has finished Spartacus Road
, one has learned just about all there is to know about the slave leader, his victories, and his final defeat--his body was never found. One also has learned about a good deal else besides, from Frontinus the aqueduct maker to the poet Statius and his epic Thebaid to the word latifundia, 'first used in the time of Pliny for giant sparsely populated tracts.'
But what one learns of most of all is a sensibility, all too rare these days, that enables someone like Peter Stothard to sense how, at least in certain locales, the distant past interpenetrates the present and immeasurably enriches it.
'Returning to old books,' Stothard says in his prologue, 'is like returning to old friends.' Anyone who becomes acquainted with this book is bound to find himself making one return visit after another."--The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Spartacus Road is not a route you can track on your GPS, and Stothard's book is no conventional guide. It's an eloquent, sometimes hilarious, account of his travels in Italy, as well as a thoughtful and accessible primer on the history and culture of the ancient world. Unexpectedly, this book is also a deeply personal account of the author's battle with cancer... At every stop, ancient or modern, Stothard's erudition and lightheartedness, his familiarity with the classical world and his modern sensibility make this book a delightful read... Stothard describes this world with clarity and humor... Readers will be tempted to grab a copy of his 'Parallel Lives' to travel on for themselves."--Cleveland Plain Dealer
"This is one of those rare books in which there is something of unexpected interest on every page, and which makes the reader wish he or she could pack a small bag and accompany the author on his travels."--Michael Korda, The Daily Beast
makes for a wonderfully rich and endlessly thought-provoking brew.... Beautifully written, musing and far- sighted... it's an astounding success."--Christopher Hart, Literary Review
"Stothard provides valuable insights into the nature of Roman society and culture in which as much as a third of the population may have endured various forms of slavery."--Booklist
"Peter Stothard's account of his journey is the footsteps of Spartacus's army is not just a travel book, but also a memoir of surviving cancer... The idea for this book was... to retrace the steps of the rebel slave Spartacus and his men for 2,000 miles through the Italian countryside. It would be an opportunity to retell one of the great underdog stories of the ancient world: how a motley bunch of slaves repeatedly defeated the might of the Roman army between 73 and 71BC. It would be a chance to compare ancient and modern Italy, to meditate perhaps on slavery and liberty, to think about the dynamics of asymmetric warfare and so one."-- The Sunday Times
"A fusion of memoir, history and travelogue that is unlike any other book ever written about Spartacus, and all the more precious for being quite so unexpected."--Tom Holland, The Spectator
"Extraordinary"--Books Inq. Blog
"The most engaging book I've read in some time is Spartacus Road
... The narrative mingles history and travel, meditation and deep classical learning."--Anecdotal Evidence Blog