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Children's LiteratureAuthor Kuntz has written an interesting book on The Roman Colosseum. In four chapters, she manages to describe the Colosseum, how it was built, what happened there, its rebuilding, and the role it plays as a tourist attraction and reminder of Roman history. The Colosseum, built in 80 A.D., was authorized by the Roman emperor Vespasian. The Colosseum was more than 600 feet long, 500 feet wide and 160 feet tall. The arena was the size of a football field. It was a beautiful structure with grand arches, columns, vaults, colorful ceilings and bubbling fountains. Hundreds of workers built the Colosseum, most of them slaves; it took eight years to finish the building. Although the Colosseum was a spectacular work of art, its intent was not as noble. Romans watched fights between animals, men and animals, and men against men. Although gladiators were brave and skilled men and admired by many, they often gave their lives so others could be entertained. After four and a half centuries, the Colosseum was shut down because Romans began to view the games and killings as wrong. In time, the Colosseum decayed with only half of it remaining. In the 1970s, there was renewed interest in the Colosseum and restoring it. Today it attracts millions of tourists who admire its architecture and historical significance. Color and black-and-white illustrations enhance the text. A glossary, further reading, and websites are also included. 2005, Kidhaven Press/The Gale Group, Ages 8 to 12.
—Della A. Yannuzzi