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 […]

Book Review: SPQR, A History of Ancient Rome, by Mary Beard.

Mary Beard writes in a breezy, often anecdotal, style which makes her book both informative and entertaining. SPQR covers the history of ancient Rome from its founding by Romulus to the reign of Emperor Caracalla, who, in the year 202 A.D. granted Roman citizenship to the entire free male population of the empire. This is […]

Book Review: Chronicle of the Roman Republic-The rulers of Ancient Rome from Romulus to Augustus

Chronicle of the Roman Republic is a beautiful book, replete with striking illustrations. Despite some defects, I think it’s a must read for anyone who wants an overview of Roman history from the city’s founding until the end of the Republic. The text is largely a Who’s Who of notable Romans, starting with Romulus and […]

Defender of Jerusalem by Helena Shrader

The struggle between Christian and Muslim in the Middle East during the era of the crusades is not in my usual realm of historical interest, but having read Helena Shrader’s masterful trilogy about King Leonidas of Sparta, I suspected that Defender of Jerusalem would be well worth reading, and I was not disappointed. Defender of […]

Book Review: The Year of Ravens by Stephanie Dray et al.

The Year of Ravens was a group effort by seven talented historical fiction writers, Ruth Downie, Stephanie Dray, E. Knight, Kate Quinn, Vicky Alvear Shecter, S.J.A. Turney and Russell Whitfield. There is an introduction by Ben Kane. I found that the combined narrative holds together surprisingly well and the book as a whole was entertaining […]