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Those About to Die by Daniel P. Mannix

Those About to Die

by Daniel P. Mannix

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You can't review a Mannix book without first highlighting Mannix, the King of Cool - a true master of the lost art of living.

The son of a U.S. navy officer (Commodore), he follows his own tune, joining the circus, mastering sword swallowing, travelling extensively, pursuing a love for animals, writing about them with interest and a light touch. His fiction is just bad. It must be said. Come closer though, here's the gold: his nonfiction is deeply researched, bullet proof accurate yet reads like populist pulp. Gobble it! It's great! We can say more about Mannix, like he wrote the Disney classic "the fox and the hound" and so on, but let's on to the review of "The way of the Gladiator".

Surprise, it's about gladiators. You think you know but you don't. Not like this. The depth, the detail, the variety. It's staggering stuff. His knowledge, historical veracity and structure of presentation are artworks of informed and informing.

Get down in the guts and the sand and prepare to go "whaaa...? I did not know that." This is his very best work, The One. For lovers of action, of history, of Mannix, or crazy sh*t that's 100% true and 105% outrageous. ( )
  LeonardGMokos | Nov 22, 2016 |
Even if you've read extensively on the Roman Empire...its people, its conquests, its trade network, its road-building, the Games...you'll still be amazed and sickened at the cult of brutal death Daniel P. Mannix describes in this book. Usually, only the bare bones (pun not intended) of the games are detailed in other accounts, but here the author details the broad range of imaginative executions condemned criminals and gladiatorial contests arranged for the Romans mob. With the games reduced over the years from the Spartacan duels between trained gladiators to the wholesale slaughter of huge numbers of amateurs armed with swords in arenas awash with blood, women in the stands scratched their cheeks in their ecstatic bloodlust and men pounded their seats. If you get too romantic a view of Rome, this will set you straight. Highly recommended. ( )
  NickHowes | Aug 24, 2016 |
I wasn't aware gladiator games had spectator shows of animals (from drunken chimpanzees, zebras, baboons to wild boars) raping condemned women as part of their entertainment in the arena, until I read this book. There were actually men (the bestiarii) who trained wild beast to not only kill and eat people, but sexually violate them as well! Author Daniel P. Mannix offers up plenty of shocking events in this absorbing read, which you probably never learnt about in ancient history class. Example: condemned men were put on seesaws in the arena and then hungry lions & other wild beast were let loose. The men seesawed desperately back and forth trying to stay on the up-side, so that they wouldn't be eaten. Can you imagine? It must have been the quickest seesawing one had ever seen. This provided great amusement for the arena crowd as did other countless sadistic pre-game shows.

Of course the principal focus is on the gladiators themselves. There is a lot of fascinating information about the day to day lives of the gladiators, Romans, and the political power houses behind the scenes, however some of the additional spectacles going on during the games were just as interesting, if not more fascinating. I couldn't put the book down. ( )
2 vote CindyBytes | Jul 11, 2009 |
I was a kid when I read this book and still remember its contents more than 30 years later. It was that graphic! I have yet to read another book so graphic or hear history of this time explained this way.
  vincentrodriguez | Jul 30, 2008 |
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