Customer Reviews for

The Spartacus War

Average Rating 4
( 27 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted May 31, 2012

    Actions Must Speak Louder than Words

    I enjoyed this presentation of Spartacus and the most famous slave revolt in history. It’s true that facts on the man and his rebellion are frustratingly thin: As the author explains in his introduction, what little information we have must be cobbled together from ancient Greek and Roman writers with their own biased perspectives, and few of such writing survive. Spartacus himself left no writings.

    That said, I thought Strauss did a first-rate job of combining historical accounts of the Spartacus rebellion with the results of archaeological finds, experiments in historical reconstruction, his expertise on ancient military weapons and warfare, and even Roman graffiti in order to create the most detailed account of the Spartacus wars ever written. The author admits his narrative is by necessity speculative, but he is also prudent in his speculations. He is clear about when he is theorizing, and he explains the process through which he comes to his conclusions. Moreover, he has an engaging writing style that reads like a novel.

    This is not a novel, however, but a carefully researched history that ties Spartacus’s known actions to timeless patterns of insurgencies and to the particular political and geographic world in which the man lived. If you expect a verification of the violent and erotic television series, this is not the book for you. If you’re curious about the real Spartacus and the revolt he led, this is probably the best compilations of fact and theory currently available, and I think you’ll find it an interesting read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2013

    Waste of time and money

    Poorly written. Could not hold my interest. Too much speculation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2012

    Fantastically well written and researched from the bits and piec

    Fantastically well written and researched from the bits and pieces in history

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2012

    Highly Recommended!!!

    I recently purchased this book for my husband, who has always been a fan of the story about Spartacus. He is in currently in the midst of reading this book written by Barry Strauss and has given it a big thumbs-up. The author did an excellent job of capturing the essence of Spartacus and has also done a great job of giving some very important historical information along the way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2010

    Inspiring

    This is a great book to inspire pride in people like me who have some southern Italian heritage. The slave army may have ultimately lost the war and done a little looting on the side but they kept a great army at bay for two years and became a legend.I have visited the ancient town of Volcei where some of my family originated and can easily picture some of the scenes depicted in the book thanks to the author's lively writing. I snoozed through ancient history in college and have never willingly picked up a book about battles or Roman history but this was a pleasant surprise as it makes an effort to describe people and conditions and is not heavy on battle formations and the art of war. I agree with the writers who describe the book as being based on much speculation but there is also a story of southern Italy here which may help to explain why in the town of Volcei today there is Via Gramsci, honoring one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party, and why there is a political party called The Northern League which would like
    to say "Arrivederci" to the South.

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The Real Spartacus

    Beware fans of Spartacus: Blood and Sand the Starz runaway hit. If you expect to find titillating scandalous, erotic fun in the Spartacus War book you will be strongly disappointed. What you will find is the truth of what we know about the real Spartacus and the slave revolt he helped to lead. Barry Straus does a fantastic job describing Spartacus's world and the revolt as it may have happened. He even lets the viewer see Spartacus as a man and not the mythical figure he has become with time and Hollywood.
    The Spartacus War by Barry Strauss is a wonderful but frustrating book. I thoroughly enjoyed the way Mr. Strauss leads the reader into Spartacus's time. However, the frustration that I and many viewers will have is the simple fact that we have limited information on Spartacus and the revolt or war that ensued in Rome. Barry Straus fills in the gaps with some good theories based upon the evidence that we currently have at hand. Many fans of the Kirk Douglas movie and the Starz show will be enlightened by Barry Strauss's The Spartacus War. I highly recommend The Spartacus Wars for fans of the movie and show along with history enthusiast.

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  • Posted February 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Too Much Speculation

    I must agree with the reviewre who mentions the author's excess speculating. The book seems to be padded with pages of what-ifs and maybes. I am sure Strauss is being honest about what is and is not known, but it makes for a bumpy narrative. Perhaps he might have done better if he had written a historical novel. As it is, this is a book that might have been better as a chapter or chapters in a collection of essays.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    You gotta love the brutality of ancient history.

    The author presented the best account of Spartacus and the war that he could based on spotty historical accounts - too bad there wasn't more source accounts preserved. I wonder how today's street gangs would hold up against Spartacus and his crew - I know who I would put my money on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    Good Book, with some flaws

    This is a good book on the Spartacus revolt. Through research and speculation, the writer paints a nice picture of what might have happened in the Spartacus revolt. Please note, that the author fills in large gaps from the historical sources with his speculation. He is very good at pointing out what is speculation, and why he came to those conclusions. My major critism of this book is the lack of maps. He has three maps at the beginning of the book, but none of them show the path of Spartacus. I would have liked to have seen a map at the beginning of each chapter showing where Spartcus and Roman armies are going. It was hard to follow, with just the written word. Another problem was with the speculation. He describes the wall that Crassus buit to pen in Spartacus's army in great detail. He then went on to say that he was not sure where this wall was built. Then how does he know that the wall was "at least twenty-five feet high". This is good book with some flaws.

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    Posted August 9, 2010

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