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Those About to Die Mass Market Paperback – September 12, 1974

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 12, 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345242408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345242402
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #444,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mannix' "Those About to Die" combines a historical and sociological view of the Games of the Roman Republic and Empire. With the title taken from the traditional gladiators' greeting, "Hail Caesar! We who are about to die salute you!", this book traces the history of the Roman games from Anchises' funerary games in Vergil's Aeneid to the inevitable coarsening and excess of Imperial Rome. Along the way, we learn about the engineering of the Circus Maximus, the training of the gladiators, the orgiastic response of both plebs and patricians in the audience, and even the horrific cruelty inherent in such a scene. Mannix' "Those About to Die" provides tremendous insights into a cultural and sociological ritual the likes of which have never been seen before -- and, hopefully, will never be seen again.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Probably the most provocative work of historical fiction published this century,"Those Who Are About To Die" is pure Mannix at his best. A uncensured exploration of what likely took place in the circuses of ancient Rome. Filled with all the bloodshed, sadism, torture, sex and beastiality that Mannix could reasonably document. Just as fascinating today as when it became a cult classic thirty years ago. Mannix is the only author brave enough to make a career out of documenting man at his most inhuman. Hard to believe he also wrote the story for Disney's "The Fox and the Hound"! If you liked "Caligula" you'll love "Those Who Are About To Die"! But don't forget to follow-up with his "The History of Torture", and "The Hell Fire Club" if you can find a copy.
1 Comment 12 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is an update after actually receiving the book. Read first, then go to the end for the update.

Almost 50 years have passed since I first read this shocker and I've found it again. Before pushing "go to checkout" this is my memory:
Absolutely incredible book on Roman life. By "incredible," I really do mean "unbelievable" details of Roman excesses, not just in the killing arena, but in raising and eating rare foods: hummingbird tongues, fish that changed colors as they were boiled alive, unborn calves and other animals cooked inside their mothers, and on and on.
In the arena, there were specialists in animal as well as human destruction called "bestiarii" who could kill a lion with their bare hands. The author said the bestiarii hated and feared only leopards because of the animals' blinding speed.

The Roman Colosseum arena could be flooded in minutes, not only for mock sea battles, but for imaginary paradise islands populated by luscious women and handsome men singers and musicians--who were fed to crocodiles to the delight of the crowd.

So out of hand did the "Bread and Circuses" of Rome become that shipments of sand for the Colosseum floor were given priority over shipments of food, according to that author.

I read this shocking book as a very young teenager--it was a paperback book belonging to an uncle. If I can remember this much after nearly 50 years, this is a book that stays with you--whether totally true or not.

UPDATE---Well, I was half right, because this is about half the book it was. Not Amazon's fault. The book arrived in less than a week in surprisingly good condition for a paperback.
No, the 1960 publisher "reverse Bowdlerized" the original I read.
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1 Comment 11 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book over a decade ago and even today, now that I do not have the copy anymore, I still remember the title and the impact it had on me then. It has been on my wish-list for years and plan to order it again soon. I have had many occasions to refer to it in conversations with friends and aquaintances, be it toward politic themes, animal training, or in college. This book gives a fascinating insight into mankind, the beast.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
when I was given this book, I thought it would be a laborious read; I was wrong! Daniel Mannix has done an excellent job of bringing dimension & depth to a subject that few of us really understand. It's a real pity that this piece of literature is now out of print because every student of history should have this narrative in their personal library. I now watch 'SPARTACUS' from a totally different perspective!
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By A Customer on May 6, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book some years ago now when I was quite young. It struck me then as bizarre, as you can imagine it would to a teenager in the early 70's. Having perused it again it still strikes me as ghastely and unimaginable but strangely compelling. I believe it to carry a strong message, a warning no less of the traps and pitfalls of human excesses and how lusty, violent tendencies can overwhelm even apparently ordinary people should they succumb to the hysterical abandonment of decency and proper civil norms and behaviour. I marvelled at and was appalled by this book simultaneously.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Unfortunately, I am not a historian of Ancient Rome but this unforgettable book hammers away at me to try to determine its accuracy. If the book is even 50% accurate, historians have missed the boat completely on Ancient Rome. According to author, Daniel P. Mannix, this is a history of the games. These games commenced with the almost innocent, annual competitive, athletic rituals held at the Circus Maximus. They ended in the development and unfortunate daily operation of some kind of blood lust theater, including the construction and operation of the Flavian Circus, today known as the Coliseum of Rome, with gladiators, animals, bestial sex and other extreme perversions in almost every municipality of the Roman Empire. The games continued until this addictive social disease nearly wiped out the wild life population of Northern Africa and went on to devour deeply, fatally, into its fiscal and human resources. When it was over, there was very little left of what once was Empire. It all happened from within. The author's highly detailed; beguiling descriptions seem too strange to be fiction. The book compels the reader to read it repeatedly. We are constrained to draw upon today's parallels of ultra violent, inhuman Hollywood films and continuous wars that have no rhyme nor reason or purpose.
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