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The First Century: Emperors, Gods and Everyman Paperback – October 23, 1991

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Parallels between East and West abound in this robust, readable history of the first century. For example, both Augustus Caesar and Chinese emperor Wang Mang, usurper of the Han throne, saw themselves as saviors of battered, debauched civilizations. While the Chinese reannexed the newly independent state of Vietnam led by the two courageous Trung sisters (40-43 C.E.), insecure Claudius sent Roman warlord Vespasian to crush a rebellion in Britain. Klingaman ( 1929: The Year of the Great Crash ) focuses on some 20 central characters in an engrossing, cinematic narrative which regrettably excludes Africa and the Americas and selectively glances at India, Asia Minor and Western Europe. At center stage is itinerant preacher Jesus, waging a cataclysmic holy war to liberate Israel from its state of sin.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Since American culture often hedges between Christian and Oriental spiritual thought, sometimes opting to combine the two for a personalized belief system, there is clearly a need to put these two spiritual forces into historical perspective. Klingaman has done just that in his engrossing narrative of the first century A.D. He brings together Augustus Caesar, the ascension of Wang Mang, the poet Ovid, the notorious glutton Claudius, Jesus and his deviation from conventional Judaic tradition, and the spread of Mahayana Buddhism to make an intriguing comparison between Asian and Mediterranean political, military, and spiritual development. The author's attempt to recreate the atmosphere of the era will certainly appeal to lay people, but the lack of annotation will disappoint more serious scholars and students. As a sweeping historical overview of the birth of Christianity and Buddhism, this volume is both engaging and enlightening.
- Gerald Large, California State Univ., Los Angeles
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (October 23, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060921277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060921279
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,946,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is wonderfully written, a pleasure to read. I give it five stars even though it is somewhat lop-sided: although it claims to be a history of Rome, China, and Judea in the first century, the author shows a decidedly western bias. Counting the sections, I see 14 on Rome, 11 on Judea, and only 7 on China. The author seems more sure-footed, and more excited, when describing Rome.
However, overall I found this a great read, enough so that it inspired to get some of the authors other books.
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Format: Paperback
If you have ever wondered about the events that shaped leaders and everyman, thousands of years ago, this is an entertaining read, considering it is non-fiction. The real life events are presented in a way that brings characters into stories that otherwise would seem to be so long ago and nameless.
A great line was "At the dawn of the first century, the empire over which Augustus ruled,-with the aid of only a rudimentary civil service-encompassed nearly eighty million people and ranged across ten thousand miles of frontier..."
A good read for the context getting of where we came from to get where we are today as peoples on this globe.
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Format: Paperback
This book is written with style and some wit, bringing long dead shakers & movers to life. Very entertaining with some clever insights from the author who also presents historical figures with personalities (accurately or not - it does'nt matter), opinions etc.. Bloody good read.
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Format: Paperback
The book is awesome and has whet my appetite for more history. At first I did not like the divided history approach of highlighting Rome, Judea and China in various chapters but after reading through the book it did seem to motivate one to read through to get to the next continuation (kind of like a cliff hanger). This tended to highlight more of Rome & Judea and only a small amount of China.
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Format: Paperback
The late historian Barbara Tuchman wrote a wonderful book called "A Distant Mirror" about the calamitous 14th century. It is absolutely spell-binding for history enthusiasts. While Klingaman's book is not quite as well written, it does a remarkable job of presenting the world-shattering changes that took place during the First Century A.D. (or C.E. if you prefer). As a Christian of the Episcopalian stripe, I enjoyed the "context" it provides for understanding the time of Jesus. I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in the subject. Bring along your thinking cap because it's very thought provoking!
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