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Augustus

Written by: Adrian Goldsworthy
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
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Publisher's Summary

Caesar Augustus's story, one of the most riveting in western history, is filled with drama and contradiction, risky gambles and unexpected success. He began as a teenage warlord, whose only claim to power was as the heir of the murdered Julius Caesar. Mark Antony dubbed him "a boy who owes everything to a name," but in the years to come the youth outmaneuvered all the older and more experienced politicians and was the last man standing in 30 BC. Over the next half century, he reinvented himself as a servant of the state who gave Rome peace and stability, and created a new system of government-the Principate, or rule of an emperor. Adrian Goldsworthy pins down the man behind the myths: a consummate manipulator, propagandist, and showman, both generous and ruthless. Under Augustus's rule, the empire prospered, yet his success was never assured, and the events of his life unfolded with exciting unpredictability.

©2014 Adrian Goldsworthy (P)2014 Tantor Media

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excellent book and excellent perfomace

My only complaint is that I would have loved if it were twice as long and more detailed. The narration fostered immersion, rather than breaking it. That's all you can ask for in my books.

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Informative and captivating

The somewhat lesser-known Caesar's life and times are well handled by the combination of Goldsworthy's writing and Derek Perkins' narration. For history fans looking for an interesting listen, I heartily recommend this book.

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Great content and great as an audiobook

The author carefully but more importantly, openly balances historical evidence for and against the events he describes providing alternatives always qualifying with their likelihood. This approach is a lot more true to the difficult nature of studying history where theres often little or no evidence or descriptions. Its the kind of book Im happy to listen to as an audio book since it depicts the life of Augustus chronologically although sometime it was hard to follow the confusing names of roman aristocrats and changes in circumstances. Great read! I learned a lot especially about the relationship between Roman culture and Greek culture

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  • Al
  • 2020-05-17

Worth the time.

Struggled to understand as the author kept switching between different names for each historical figure. Derek Perkins saved the day with his narration.

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a little Augustus a lot of filler

I did enjoy the book but as the author states right at the start he didn't have much to work with from sources so a lot of padding ensued. interesting padding to be sure but well travelled padding.

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'Decent' Strict Biography

Oxford History Professor Adrian Goldsworthy states at the outset of this book that he plans to stick strictly to the life of Augustus - and does so. He assumes readers have at least a cursory knowledge of life in Ancient Rome - providing context only where it is absolutely indispensable to his subject's chronicle.
I have the advantage of having taken Classics courses in University - so this book is relatively rich to me: Goldsworthy provides exhaustively researched facts & dates, paints a pinpoint accurate picture, and invites the reader to draw conclusions.
The approach, however, is both problematic (the book can be extremely difficult to contextualize) and advantageous (it provokes a ton of thought).

More fortuitously, outstanding sound quality (courtesy Tantor Audio) and superior reading (per Derek Perkins) elevate the book considerably. This audiobook version is doubtless better than a paper/eBook iteration would be.

Several reviewers have commented on the confusion resulting from name-changes throughout the text. I disagree.. the Author does a nice job dividing the book into sections where Caius/Octavianus/Augustus takes on different titles & names. Rather, I would call out the self-limiting "adhere to the subject" mandate.
If you are familiar with the Ancient World, this book - informed by voluminous contemporary writings on the life of a Man-God - is creditable (Goldsworthy deftly sorts out what's fact & what's myth). If you're new to discussions of the civilization, however, I recommend reading some introductory works first ('The Great Courses' audiobooks are excellent).

Regardless, 'Augustus: First Emperor Of Rome' merits 6 stars out of 10. The majority of the book is honestly a pretty boring recounting of political alliances & maneuverings (it's most useful to genuinely interested students), but the chapter on the Wars with Marc Antony & Cleopatra is almost worth the Price of Admission on it's own.

[ATTN PRODUCERS: An appended PDF with Glossary and Timeline would improve this audiobook markedly]

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