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The First Man in Rome (In the Masters of Rome) Paperback – November 11, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
- Marilyn Jordan, North Miami P.L., Fla.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Among the devices she uses to achieve a kind of verisimilitude are imagined conversations, letters, and maps (drawn by her own hand). Where there are unknowns in the historical record, her inventions are based on careful research and are, if not correct, certainly plausible.
I can't praise this book (and the four that follow it in the series) highly enough. Standing in the remains of the original forum in Rome last year, I felt as if I had actually experienced that place before. So much of the story told in these books takes place in the limited confines of the forum and the nearby Palitine and Capitoline hills, and her description of the space was so accurate - even with the passage of two thousand years - that it was easy to imagine how it must have looked then.
Anyone who loves historical fiction - that is, real history presented in novel form - owes it to themselves to experience this book. It is both a work of scholarship and a great imaginative achievement written by a master of language. No story totally invented could be half as interesting as this tale of real people that McCollough brings to life in these pages. A great book.
Marius is shown as what he was: a giant. I'm not sure that I'm comfortable with McCullough's portrayal of Sulla, but each reader can make that decision for him or her self. This book covers the time period as from shortly before the Jugurthine War (which I never really understood until I read this book) to slightly after Marius' conquest of the German tribes. But this isn't just a book about wars. McCullough takes the readers into the Senate, into private conversations of Roman (and foreign) leaders, and really tries to get at the guts of what was going on in the Roman Republic at this critical stage of its history. Mostly, she succeeds brilliantly.
I especially enjoyed the characters in this novel. While "Caesar", for example, was completely devoid of character development, this novel is overflowing with wonderful and well-structured character portraits. I was particularly impressed by Sulla. Instead of portraying him as a wild psychopath that he undoubtedly was, Colleen McCullough turned him into a psychopath with a tender side. Her description of his childhood and especially his relationship with his tutor brought tears to my eyes. Although Sulla is quite despicable in his action, McCullough uncovers a complex person under all the madness. A great achievement!
I also appreciated her depiction of Gaius Marius. In history class, I learned that he was extremely lucky but rather unremarkable in his talent. That never sat well with me because I thought that even if he wasn't a genius, he must have been capable enough to secure the number of consulships that he had. McCullough very nicely goes into Gaius Marius' head and examines how and what is driving him.
Not all the characters were well-developed. Julia or Julia Major was extremely boring and could have used more complexity because she appears to be such a paragon of virtue that she does not seem human. Jugurtha also suffered because in the book he is too one-dementional. That's too bad since he is quite fascinating.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is also in bad condition and I had picked a book in good condition. The spine is broken on this one also and will lose pages soon.Published 18 days ago by -k-
Can't wait to see it on kindle. Lucky I am prime with is worthless for books you actually want to read.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This 1,100 page tome might reasonably be mistaken for genuine literature. It is close enough for me. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Andy McKinney