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Laurence (research fellow, archaeology & antiquity, Univ. of Birmingham; coauthor, with Alex Butterworth, Pompeii: The Living City) brings a spirit of lighthearted inquiry to this readable work. Each chapter analyzes a first-century Roman pleasure or leisure activity, e.g., dining, architecture, bathing, sex, theater, violence, collecting, and gifts, drawn especially from erotic culture and supported by archaeological evidence. Linking the disparate subject matter is Laurence's examination of how each of the early emperors created a new culture of pleasure in his reign to reflect his individual greatness while appealing to a sense of tradition and stability. Comparisons between Roman and 21st-century lifestyles are instructive while avoiding anachronism, e.g., against expectations, geological evidence shows that imperial Rome was the greatest polluter before modern industrialized societies. With a broader appeal and more currency than other surveys of Roman leisure, this is sure to interest students not only of Roman history but of cultural history in general.