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Verso Books: Chooses A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome as one of the Best Books Read in 2013

Date: Dec 19 2013

In a now-yearly ritual, Verso's hard-working team of staff — editors, publicists and other assorted book-elves — have taken a moment away from their busy schedules to give a run down of the books they've found most moving, interesting and inspiring over the last year.

Alberto Angela, translated by Gregory Conti, Europa Editions

How many times have you read a book of history only to forget all about the battles and struggles for succession the moment you put it down, retaining only a handful of piquant minor details? Perhaps you’ll recall the short lifespans; the alien diet (garum sauce anyone? It’s made from rotting fish); the massacres in the Coliseum; the daily struggles of the slaves. Well, this book is nothing but those fascinating nuggets. Not a people’s history, but a history that brings ordinary people to life, A Day in the Life of Ancient Rome is a tour of the city during Trajan’s reign, a series of vignettes that recreates the ancient world with all the immediacy of an excellent travelogue.