Comments: 7
Oh, wow. That sounds interesting both from a historical and a contemporary perspective!
Elentarri's Book Blog 2 months ago
Well - it happens to be the only history book dealing with Ancient Rome that I enjoyed reading and got miffed when work interfered with my reading time. The book doesn't cover anything in intense detail but I could keep track of what was happening, who was involved and why it was important and what the consequences were - which is basically what I'm after when reading history books.
Sounds good enough ...

Have you read Tom Holland's "Rubicon"? I haven't, but I believe it covers roughly the same topic (also with a similar approach, i.e., not merely looking at what happened but what it all means / meant in the grand scheme of things). If you happen to have read both, how do they compare?
Elentarri's Book Blog 2 months ago
I've read Rubicon - it's style is more like a novelisation and the author tries to stuff too much biographical details in, while guessing what the "characters" where thinking. I also think Rubicon covers a shorter time-span than Mortal Republic (can't remember), so there is more juicy stuff on about the main actors like Julius and Pompey. I got lost with all the similar/ same names (ancient Romans weren't terribly imaginative when it came to naming their kids) and I got a bit bored. Dynasty by Holland was even worse. I would read Mortal Republic first, then read the more novel-style, additional details Rubicon. I intend to buy Mortal Republic for my personal library. Rubicon doesn't really go into why studying the Roman Republic is important for current affairs... that I remember.

I enjoyed Persian Fire by Tom Holland and was looking for another book that covers the same time period. Any ideas?
Would you be up for the contemporary primary sources? (Herodotus, "Histories", Thucydides, "History of the Peloponnesian War", Xenophon, "Anabasis", or, "The Persian Expedition"). Those aside, Donald Kagan's "The Peloponnesian War" and Peter Green's "The Greco-Persian Wars" are the books I keep seeing as touching on that particular period / era (in addition to Holland's "Persian Fire", of course), but I have to confess I haven't read either (yet) -- and as with every historical subject, I'll gladly bow to any recs by Markk (

For a novel touching on Alexander the Great's Persian campaign -- though with a certain amount of biographicala conjecture -- there is also Klaus Mann's first novel, "Alexander". I liked it, but it would have been hard to miss the fact that there is a fair amoung of autobiographical projection on Mann's part, which obviously isn't everybody's jam.

Thanks for the comparison of Holland's and Watts' books. I think I'll end up reading both -- it's actually good to know that I won't be reading, in essence, the same book twice! :)
Elentarri's Book Blog 2 months ago
I've got Herodotus' Histories (2 versions, one the Landmark version which has really nice commentary, maps and picture/photos, so was going to get the landmark publications for the other classical works) - still have to find uninterrupted time to read it. I've read Peter Green's biography on Alexander which I enjoyed a lot. I'll have to see if I can find his Greco-Persian Wars. Thanks for the rec!
No problem -- if you get to it before I do (which is entirely likely), I'll be interested in your impressions!