When in Rome…

Posted Jan 13, 2017

When in Rome, do as the Romans do with our #FridayReads.


The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough

Travel back to 110 B.C. Rome, the epicenter of human history where politics, battle, and family ties ran strong.  With dreams of glory and a strong military prowess, Gaius Marius is next in line to become the First Man in Rome.  However, Lucius Cornellius Sulla, a penniless aristocrat, has the ambition and courage to seek out the role.  Instead of fighting separate battles, it may be best for both Marius and Sulla to face opposition as a unified front, thus quickening their destinies.  McCullough’s epic tome of pageantry and passion captures the downfall of the Roman Republic, complete with descriptive details and dramatic plotting.  


SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

At its most powerful, ancient Rome was a powerful, prosperous, and complex metropolis that sprawled from Syria to Spain.  With over one million inhabitants in the city proper, Rome faced many challenges that are often overlooked in traditional histories.  However, in SPQR, Beard focuses heavily on class, demographic struggles, and lesser known groups of people.  For example, Beard’s historical portrait of Rome at its most powerful covers imperial rule, terrorism, revolution, citizenship and nationality along with a detailed spotlight on the roles women, slaves, and criminals played in building the empire.  Thorough and well-researched, Beard’s take on history further highlights Rome’s legacy to Western Civilization.       


Warburg in Rome by James Carroll

Immediately following World War II, David Warburg, the new director of the U.S. War Refugee Board, is sent to Rome to assist Jews after the German Occupation.  To help guide him through the city, French-Italian Red Cross worker Marguerite d’Erasmo and American priest Monsignor Kevin Dean are equally committed to Warburg’s cause.  Or are they?  The Eternal City is full of fugitives, Nazis, Jewish resisters, and criminal clergy members.  Then, when a series of escape routes to smuggle Nazis to Argentina is discovered at the Vatican, Warburg doesn’t know who he can trust.  Thought-provoking and suspenseful, Carroll combines fact and fiction in this gripping historical thriller.  

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