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Rubicon

Hessell-Tiltman History Prize, 2004

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780748131051

Price: £12.99

ON SALE: 21st April 2011

Genre: Humanities / History

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‘The bloodstained drama of the last decades of the Roman republic… is told afresh with tremendous wit, narrative verve and insight’



‘I owe a debt of gratitude to Tom Holland not just for reminding me of the great figures who bestrode the Roman world – Pompey and Crassus, Cato, Cicero and Caesar – but for explaining what it was that made Rome the greatest superpower the world has known, why it lasted so long and what caused its eventual fall’ Daily Mail

‘Gripping and hugely entertaining. It is a story crammed with drama and spectacle… but the real attraction of Holland’s book is the wit and contemporary sensibility that he brings to his often bloody tale’ Books of the Year, Sunday Times

‘This is narrative history at its best… it really held me, in fact, obsessed me’ Ian McEwan, Books of the Year, Guardian

THE TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Reviews

Tom Holland's excellent new study of the fall of the Republic... re-evaluating Rome for a new generation
Robert Harris, Sunday Times
This is narrative history at its best... It really held me, in fact, obsessed me... Bloody and labyrinthine political intrigue and struggle, brilliant oratory, amazing feats of conquest and cruelty. Holland's lucid account of this alien civilisation moves at a fine pace. He makes no facile comparisons with our times, but you sense you are witnessing through him the enduring difficulty of reconciling power and peace
Guardian, Ian McEwan
Fresh and vivid . . . Holland's strength is as a narrative historian and there is no better and clearer guide to the tangled political events of 100-44 bc . . . if a new readership is to be won for ancient history, it is books like this that will pave the way
Frank McLynn, New Statesman
It's terrific and I'm so grateful to Tom Holland for reminding me, so vividly, of not just the Roman Empire but of the people it produced and influenced
Joanna Trollope, Observer
A fine achievement, a book which will still deserve to be read when the political fashion has moved on . . . For any newcomer who wants the story of the Republic [and] who is tired of hearing people bang on about what the Romans did for us and wants to know what (and how) the Romans did for themselves, this is probably as good as it gets
Peter Stothard, Times Literary Supplement
The story of Rome's experiment with republicanism - peopled by such giants as Caesar, Pompey, Cato and Cicero - is told with perfect freshness, fine wit and true scholarship
Andrew Roberts
Ancient history often descends to us either through impregnable academic works or the sword-and-sandal epics of the cinema. What Holland achieves is to draw from both genres to write a modern, well-paced and finely observed history which entertains as it informs
Elizabeth Speller, Observer
Engrossing . . . a lively narrative style . . . A thoroughly worthwhile and timely project - an account of a formative period of Western history that manages to be accessible and not over-simplified
Harry Eyres, Daily Telegraph
Explosive stuff . . . a seriously intelligent history of the late republic that approximates as closely to the condition of the novel as should be allowed. Concentrating on the characters, plotting their interactions, rise and fall with considerable narrative skill, writing with élan and gusto . . . It is a history for our times . . . One can see classicists like Paul Wolfowitz in the White House eagerly seizing this book to find out how to deal with those tricky middle-easterners . . . a wickedly enjoyable book and a very sharp "reading" of the late Roman republic
Peter Jones, BBC History Magazine
Tom Holland's Rubicon makes history read like a thrilling mafia epic. Classical celebrities who flit across the subconscious of half-educated people like me keep walking in and swaggering about, all alive
Griff Rhys Jones
A model of exactly how a popular history of the classical world should be written . . . a riveting study of the period . . . the most readable book on the later Roman republic since Ronald Syme's The Roman Revolution . . . Next time someone asks me why they should study Roman history, Rubicon will be one of the first books that I shall direct them to
Richard Miles, Guardian
A master of the telling detail . . . Rubicon is unrivalled in revealing the humbug behind the cant and stripping Julius Caesar and company of their moral finery
Frederic Raphael, Sunday Times
Holland paints a vivid social portrait of the Roman world . . . Ideal bedside reading for George W. Bush
Max Hastings, Sunday Telegraph
Rubicon . . . is no dry history: it is immensely readable, a perfect combination of authoritative scholarship and racy narrative . . . all Holland's people are real and alive. Sometimes they even talk
David Wishart, Scotsman
Always readable and often beautiful . . . essential reading for anyone interested in ancient history. However, it also says more about our modern civilisation than many books that more overtly address the contemporary political and social issues . . . [Holland] blows the dust off an ancient civilisation, and shows that we still have plenty to learn from the past
Sunday Business Post
A history of the Roman Republic at the height of its fame . . . The excitement of this book lies in the knowledge that once the summit is reached, either of a mountain or a civilisation, the trail leads downwards
Beryl Bainbridge
Holland brings a diverse cast of characters to life and in his descriptions of the skullduggery, luxury and squalor of ancient Rome he's marvellously entertaining
Evening Herald
Holland brings to vivid life the names found in thousands of schoolbooks . . . and gives them both personality and relevance. . . . With authoritative prose, this comes as recommended reading for those interested in the ancient world
Good Book Guide
An excellent and extremely readable study of the last days of the Roman republics
John Bayley
I am afraid I have read nothing but books about the Roman Empire, the most gripping of which was Tom Holland's Rubicon
Boris Johnson, Sunday Telegraph
Holland writes throughout with wonderful zest... this is a terrific read and a remarkable piece of scholarship. As an introduction to Roman history, it is unlikely to be bettered
Christopher Matthews, Daily Mail
The blood-stained drama of the last decades of the Roman Republic . . . is told afresh with tremendous wit, narrative verve and insight . . . What characters there were in this drama! He resurrects them with a novelistic luminosity which illuminates not only that lost world, but our own as well
Christopher Hart, Independent on Sunday
Holland has the rare gift of making deep scholarship accessible and exciting. A brilliant and completely absorbing study
A.N. Wilson
The Republic won an empire, and destroyed itself in doing so. Tom Holland tells the story of how this came about, and does so with splendid verve . . . His writing is as pellucid as Macauley's
Allan Massie, Spectator
For the student of contemporary politics as well as the classicist, Tom Holland's account of the last century or so of the Roman Republic is timely. It enables the reader to re-live the slow, bloodstained collapse of a system, not only as a fascinating drama in its own right, but as a morality tale . . . This gripping narrative resurrects some of the half-forgotten personalities and events that shaped who we are. In the light of the parallels between the two great imperial republics, it can be recommended as an instructive beach-read for senior politicians on both sides of the Atlantic
Anthony Everitt, Independent