Book Review: Dictator by Robert Harris

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Anyone wanting an intensely vivid portrait of the history, politics and culture of the last years of the Roman Republic will want to read this book. Dictator is the third book of a series by Richard Harris based on the life of Marcus Tullius Cicero. The first book, Imperium, covers Cicero’s youth and his rise [...]

Book Review: Galba’s Men by L.J. Trafford

L.J. Trafford’s account of life in Caesar’s palace on the Palatine Hill is a sort of Upstairs Downstairs writ large. Upstairs are Caesar and his family, cronies and sycophants; downstairs are a multitude of slaves and freedmen, some of who are influential enough to influence the course of affairs of state. Keeping track of, and [...]

Book Review: Call to Juno by Elizabeth Storr

Call to Juno is a magnificent novel of the war between Rome and it close neighbor, the Etruscan city of Veii which took place between 406 and 396 BC. It is dramatic, impeccably researched and a compelling read. Storr renders the cultural and religious practices of both Romans and Etruscans in stunning detail. The ancients [...]

Book Review: America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

America’s first daughter is an impressive accomplishment. One may easily perceive the many painstaking hours of dedicated research that went into the creation of this novel, and the effort has paid off handsomely. Thomas Jefferson, like the country he did so much to birth, was a great but flawed being. The major birth defect of [...]

Book Review: Salammbo by Gustave Flaubert

The twenty-three year long war with Rome is finally over. Carthage has been defeated and the once wealthy city is depleted of funds. What to do about the mercenaries? They must somehow be paid. The Suffetes decide to appease them by giving them a grand banquet at the property of the immensely wealthy general Hamilcar, [...]

Book Review: Dark Money by Jane Mayer

Have you wondered about what has happened to our country during the past forty years or so? Have you wondered how it is that nearly all of the wealth created has come to be in the hands of a very few extraordinarily wealthy people? Have you wondered why the American middle class has gone into [...]

Book Review: The Death of Caesar, by Barry Strauss

The assassination of Julius Caesar was a critical event in western history. It led to the end of the oligarchic Roman Republic and to the establishment of a monarchy as Rome continued to expand and dominate much of Europe and the Middle East. Barry Strauss has examined all of the near-contemporary literature about the assassination [...]

Book Review: The Daughters of the Palatine by Phyllis T Smith

I loved I Claudius, but I would have to say that I found Phyllis T. Smith’s The Daughters of the Palatine a more plausible version of that happened to the Julio-Claudian dynasty during the reign of Augustus than Robert Graves’ version. The Daughters of Palatine Hill is narrated by three women, Livia, the Wife of [...]

Book Review: Goddess of Fire by Bharti Kirchner

Of all of the cruel customs and practices that human societies have invented, the practice of sati, the immolation of a wife on her deceased husband’s funeral pyre, is among the most appalling. The widow’s own in-laws, who in other societies are expected to protect and support her, force the widow to undergo this painful [...]

Book Review: Plantagenet Princess, Tudor Queen by Samantha Wilcoxson

Henry the Eighth is a colorful figure in English history, known for having had six wives, two of whom were executed, and for replacing Roman Catholicism with a Protestant religion, a process that was not without strife. His father, Henry the Seventh is far less known by the general public, but he was a pivotal [...]