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Publisher Description

New York Times Bestseller • National Book Critics Circle Finalist • Wall Street Journal Best Books of 2015 • Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2015 • Economist Books of the Year 2015 • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2015

A sweeping, "magisterial" history of the Roman Empire from one of our foremost classicists shows why Rome remains "relevant to people many centuries later" (Atlantic).

In SPQR, an instant classic, Mary Beard narrates the history of Rome "with passion and without technical jargon" and demonstrates how "a slightly shabby Iron Age village" rose to become the "undisputed hegemon of the Mediterranean" (Wall Street Journal). Hailed by critics as animating "the grand sweep and the intimate details that bring the distant past vividly to life" (Economist) in a way that makes "your hair stand on end" (Christian Science Monitor) and spanning nearly a thousand years of history, this "highly informative, highly readable" (Dallas Morning News) work examines not just how we think of ancient Rome but challenges the comfortable historical perspectives that have existed for centuries. With its nuanced attention to class, democratic struggles, and the lives of entire groups of people omitted from the historical narrative for centuries, SPQR will to shape our view of Roman history for decades to come.

November 9
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Hobj ,

Historian's look at rome until 212CE

At least two chapters end in mid sentence - very irritating but that is on Itunes not the author. Overall an interesting read but it does jump around topically and chronologically though the author is clear about that she intends that.

PelicanEd ,

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

I always wanted to learn about Rome's beginnings. But the historical guesswork and the research confusion became too much. I gave up about midway. Ed Kelley

Stefan vB ,


This book has received excellent reviews by The Economist, NYT and others; in my case I recommend you download a sample before purchasing. I found SPQR extremely boring, the author wanders around without a clear and compelling storyline; I frequently found myself looking topics up in wikipedia and others to actually understand the ancient history of Rome.

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