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Those About to Die (1958)

by Daniel P. Mannix

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2037112,504 (3.45)3
Hail Caesar, we who are about to dic salute you And die the gladiators did. In a vast marble Colosseum larger than the Yankee Stadium, the people of Rome, patrician and commoner, flocked to see gladiators mangled beneath the hoofs and wheels of horses and chariots, slaughtered by half-starved wild beasts and butchered by well-armed and armoured professionals. With the Empire in decline, death and torture became the only spectacles that satisfied the decadent Romans' longing. The Emperor Trajan gave one set of games that lasted 122 days; at its end, 11 000 people and 10 000 animals had been killed. The people of Rome loved it- and they wanted more. This is the extraordinary and true account of the Roman Games and the gladiators who fought and died in the cruelest, costliest spectacles of all time… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3789061.html

Starts off as a historical survey of Roman games and then becomes two short stories, the first longer than the second, about men who worked in and around the arena. In fact the book is much less about gladiators and more about the people who arranged fights with animals in the arena, particularly the arrangements for torture and execution by damnatio ad bestias. Mannix has a bit of a fixation with the unpleasant things a trained animal can do to a woman prisoner. But he also makes interesting comparisons with the showmanship of the twentieth century, and although it's really not all that interesting a subject he covers it breezily enough. ( )
  nwhyte | Oct 24, 2021 |
Intriguing stores but overall subject matter is repulsive. ( )
  ritaer | Jun 2, 2020 |
Wow. To appreciate the scope, the cruelty, and the sadism of the games, one must read this book. I was hoping there would be more insight into the gladiatorial aspects of the games, as I'm gathering info for my next novel and need more background on the gladiator schools, way of life, etc. If anybody can recommend some good books on that subject, I'd appreciate it. Thanks! ( )
  sarahashwood | Jun 22, 2018 |
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 |
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Nero was emperor and for two weeks the mob had been rioting uncontrolled in the streets of Rome.
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Hail Caesar, we who are about to dic salute you And die the gladiators did. In a vast marble Colosseum larger than the Yankee Stadium, the people of Rome, patrician and commoner, flocked to see gladiators mangled beneath the hoofs and wheels of horses and chariots, slaughtered by half-starved wild beasts and butchered by well-armed and armoured professionals. With the Empire in decline, death and torture became the only spectacles that satisfied the decadent Romans' longing. The Emperor Trajan gave one set of games that lasted 122 days; at its end, 11 000 people and 10 000 animals had been killed. The people of Rome loved it- and they wanted more. This is the extraordinary and true account of the Roman Games and the gladiators who fought and died in the cruelest, costliest spectacles of all time

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