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Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman…
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Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic (original 2003; edition 2005)

by Tom Holland

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1,939None3,510 (4.01)1 / 98
Member:coffeymuse
Title:Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic
Authors:Tom Holland
Info:Anchor (2005), Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:toread-nonfiction
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Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic by Tom Holland (Author) (2003)

  1. 20
    Imperium by Robert Harris (YossarianXeno)
    YossarianXeno: Rubicon and Imperium are both exceptionally well-written and researched accounts, one non-fiction and the other fiction, of the politics of Rome covering much of the same period.
  2. 10
    Persian Fire: First World Empire And The Battle For The West by Tom Holland (santhony)
    santhony: The same narrative approach to history.
  3. 00
    The Roman Revolution by Ronald Syme (Thruston)
    Thruston: Syme's dense Tacitean style is a world away from Holland's light narrative sweep, but he conveys the same sense of excitement and tension, albeit with the confines of a much more scholarly approach.
  4. 00
    The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians by Peter Heather (kkunker)
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English (37)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Took me a long time to finish - mainly because it was just a succession of rich and powerful men plotting how to get more wealth and power - round and round. I couldn't see how people could be so shocked when the "Republican Ideal" was violated by one gangster or another as the whole Republic seemed to be based on power-grabs anyway! ( )
  SChant | Nov 11, 2013 |
I crossed the Rubicon with this book, hoping it would be a glorious history of Rome and its last days as a Republic, before the Empire began. It is a decent retelling of basic history but really nothing too stalwart. Given the cast of characters and the swirling battles from the days of Tarquin to Caesar, there should be an elevation of prose and heightened enlightenment, but it reads as a thesis from a college student. The book is meant to be popular history for those who don't know Romulus and his tribe, but it just never quite gets there. Short shrift is given to Gaius Marius and even Sulla, who were the two men who dominated Rome before the Empire.

So, not bad, just not great, given the subject matter. But, if you know nothing of Roman history, it will serve a basic purpose.


Book Season = Winter ( )
  Gold_Gato | Sep 16, 2013 |
Review forthcoming. ( )
  publiusdb | Aug 22, 2013 |
After hearing much about this book for several years now and seeing it referenced in essays about the current state of our nation, I found the most striking thing about it was not the parallels to the USA's current situation vis-a-vis the world and the Patriot Act. Rather, what impressed me most were the differences between the world of the Roman 2000 years ago and our contemporary one. The main such difference being Roman fatalism, the sense that one must make the most of what is, after all, a bad deal. For us, this seems to mean surrounding ourselves with luxuries and comfort, for the Romans it meant becoming famous through wealth, public service or military victories. Hmmmm. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
Some people call Tom Holland a crappy pop historian. The issue here is that for many historical events, there are questions about veracity or motive or what really went down. Guys like Holland will take the most exciting of the possible truths and go with that; thus, Nero put Christians in cages and set them on fire to use as streetlights. That's probably not true, but it makes a fun story. Keep that in mind if you read Holland; but he's basically got his shit together. It's not that big a deal. ( )
  AlCracka | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
As with most academics reviewing a "popular" book, I approached Rubicon with a certain amount of trepidation. The rather hammy sub-title seemed to suggest the worst. However what is inside the covers is a different matter altogether. This is a well-researched, well-written overview of the Roman republic. It should serve as a model of exactly how a popular history of the classical world should be written.
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Holland, TomAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grundberg, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindgren, StefanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the beginning, before the Republic, Rome was ruled by kings.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034911563X, Paperback)

The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall. It is a story of incomparable drama. This was the century of Julius Caesar, the gambler whose addiction to glory led him to the banks of the Rubicon, and beyond; of Cicero, whose defence of freedom would make him a byword for eloquence; of Spartacus, the slave who dared to challenge a superpower; of Cleopatra, the queen who did the same. Tom Holland brings to life this strange and unsettling civilization, with its extremes of ambition and self-sacrifice, bloodshed and desire. Yet alien as it was, the Republic still holds up a mirror to us. Its citizens were obsessed by celebrity chefs, all-night dancing and exotic pets; they fought elections in law courts and were addicted to spin; they toppled foreign tyrants in the name of self-defence. Two thousand years may have passed, but we remain the Romans' heirs.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:16 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

This narrative history paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall. Tom Holland brings to life the strange and unsettling civilization, which still holds up a mirror to our own.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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