Plenty of reviewers have given Beard the equivalent of four or five stars, but when someone says this is a definitive history of Rome from the pre-republic kings to Caracalla, I'd have to say "No, not r Given the 5o years Mary Beard poured into the crafting of this book, and my own interest in the subject matter, I was tempted to give this four stars, but kept getting hung up by the author's decision to fall sway to the modern trends in academia of giving a postmodernist veneer to any narrative. Plenty of reviewers have given Beard the equivalent of four or five stars, but when someone says this is a definitive history of Rome from the pre-republic kings to Caracalla, I'd have to say "No, not really. This book is valuable because Beard reinforces the message again and again that we cannot rely on the prose, even the histories, of Roman and Greek writers from the time in question, because of the natural human tendency to exaggerate and tell half a tale. [PUNIQGOOGLESNIPMIX-1
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Beech is not alone in her admiration for Beard, who was for a time the only female classics lecturer at Cambridge University and has since become the most prominent representative of a field once associated with dusty male privilege. Her academic work ranges from studies of Roman religion and Roman victory practices to reflections on Roman laughter, and she has written lively books about Pompeii and the Colosseum. Every history of Rome has to tackle the question of how the Romans—a people who once lived in a ramshackle collection of wooden huts on a muddy river in the middle of Italy, surrounded by other groups that were at least as prosperous and cultured—created one of the largest empires in the ancient world, and among the most enduring empires in all of world history. Beard is much more interested in what made Rome succeed. Her fresh undertaking—aimed primarily at a general readership but sure to engage and provoke professional classicists, too—covers the whole story.
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