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Marcus Aurelius: A Life Paperback – Illustrated, August 10, 2010
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But Marcus Aurelius was much more than a philosopher. As emperor he stabilized the empire, issued numerous reform edicts, and defended the borders with success. His life itself represented the fulfillment of Plato's famous dictum that mankind will prosper only when philosophers are rulers and rulers philosophers.
Frank McLynn's Marcus Aurelius, based on all available original sources, is the definitive and most vivid biography to date of this monumental historical figure.
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About the Author
- ASIN : 0306819163
- Publisher : Da Capo Press; Illustrated edition (August 10, 2010)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 684 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780306819162
- ISBN-13 : 978-0306819162
- Item Weight : 2.14 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.81 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #410,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Well, Uncle Frank calms down a bit and takes us through Marcus's military campaigns against those German barbarians where stoic philosophy doesn't stop Marcus from chasing down and beheading thousands of the Teutons. Uncle Frank likes this part of Marcus's story until he admits that this was the time Marcus wrote his "Meditations" which was a summation of that darn stoic thinking which Uncle Frank finds so terrible. Well, Marcus, the stoic, had been writing about accepting death and he finally accepts it for himself but Uncle Frank won't let him go as he complains about how many modern writers and thinkers have been adversely affected by that darn stoicism promoted by Marcus.
By this time, you are ready to go home as you have had your fill of Uncle Frank's intense opinions but you have to admit he really knows his history and tells a compelling story. Time to go home and nurse your hangover, in a stoic manner of course.
It's a wonder why the author would write a 500+ page biography of Aurelius, considering McLynn harshly and unambiguously rejects the sentiments that were dearest to Aurelius' heart.
Makes me laugh at the praise on the back of the book describing the biography as "nuanced".
There are occasional errors by the author (such as calling a mesuzah a "shibboleth", & some inaccuracies in describing orthodox Christian doctrine), but the more common & annoying errors are in the production of the ebook - duplicating words or entire phrases in a rather confusing way. This occurs in both the text & the notes.
It would also be helpful if the notes were linked to the numbers in the text (as has been done in other scholarly ebooks) so that the reader could check a note, then return to the text for continued reading.
For these reasons, I gave the book a 3-star rating. If it had been a 99-cent book, I would have understood these shortcomings - but I expect more care & effort to be made when publishing an ebook at this price point.
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I understand that context is important, but the author spent way too long talking about these subjects and ended up boring me to tears.
Difficult read and skipped large portions of dry text.
The word "scholarly" comes to mind rather than "a good read".
The reader will end up getting all the details of Aurelius`s life. It is just going to take a while. The chapter on Emperor Commodus, was quite gripping. Commodus combines Stalin like purges of the government, with the sadistic living of a serial killer.
In the very last chapter there was a reference to Ulysses S. Grant`s Personal Memiors and Aurelius`s Meditations. This gives you an idea, just how far off track Mclynn manages to get.
If this book was re-titled as some sort of general Roman history, I would perhaps recommend it. I would recommend the a reader to look elsewhere, in regards to Marcus Aurelius.