SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard

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Reviewed by Dave Provost, University Library Technician, NCSU Libraries

A recent visit to Rome got me hungry for reading material about the city's ancient past. I tried a couple of books that were either too dryly academic or not rigorous enough in providing evidence for their radical assumptions about Roman life. Mary Beard's SPQR was the perfect mix of being accessible to a casual scholar while remaining carefully researched and supported. It's a fascinating look at how the ancient world is in some ways shockingly similar to our own in some ways, and dramatically different in others.