The Fall of Rome: A Novel

The Fall of Rome: A Novel

by Martha Southgate
3.4 7


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The Fall of Rome: A Novel by Martha Southgate

Latin instructor Jerome Washington is a man out of place. The lone African-American teacher at the Chelsea School, an elite all-boys boarding school in Connecticut, he has spent nearly two decades trying not to appear too "racial." So he is unnerved when Rashid Bryson, a promising black inner-city student who is new to the school, seeks Washington as a potential ally against Chelsea's citadel of white privilege. Preferring not to align himself with Bryson, Washington rejects the boy's friendship. Surprised and dismayed by Washington's response, Bryson turns instead to Jana Hansen, a middle-aged white divorcée who is also new to the school — and who has her own reasons for becoming involved in the lives of both Bryson and Washington.
Southgate makes her debut as a writer to watch in this compelling, provocative tale of how race and class ensnare Hansen, Washington, and Bryson as they journey toward an inevitable and ultimately tragic confrontation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743227216
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 12/31/2002
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 418,057
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Martha Southgate is a graduate of Smith College, with an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College. She has had fellowships at the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She was books editor at Essence and has written for The New York Times Magazine, Premiere, Entertainment Weekly, and Rosie, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is at work on her next novel. You can visit her Web site at

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Fall of Rome 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Fall of Rome is an excellent novel that I enjoyed to read. This novel develops its deepth throught the different view points of the three main characters. Jerome Washington is the Latin teacher at Chelsea School and is the only African-American teacher there. Rashid Bryson is an African-American student who tries to attach himself to Mr.Washington to try and survive the demands of the school. Jana Hansen is also a teacher at Chelsea and she teaches freshmen english. She helps Rashid when Mr.Washington refuses. Through this novel, you see racial barriers broken and the determination of many. -Alaysia M.
BJW63 More than 1 year ago
I thought the development of each of the characters was remarkable considering the brevity of the book. I will certainly have my 14 year old son read this book. But I think there is plenty for adults, especially parents. The story offers tremendous insight into the unintentional harm that can be done to our children. Mr. Washington is the sum total of all that went wrong in his past. While the young student strives for complete freedom, his instructor unknowingly remains eternally bound. I'm currently reading it a second time to see if I missed anything.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I came across this book in the adult fiction area. While I enjoyed this easy read, it really is more suited for young-adult readers. There just isn't enough complexity to challenge an adult reader. While reading, I envisioned this as an ABC Afterschool Special (remember those?).
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put it down! There was so much in this book beyond the race issue... how a family deals wiht grief, how encouragment is essential to development of a well balanced soul. Ms. Southgate speaks volumes about how simple language can have a thousand different meaning depending on the audience. The book encourages us to take a look from a perspective not our own as we attempt to educate our youth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hate to give poor marks for works from new writers that seem so well-intentioned, but I found this pretty tedious, the characters generally more like charicatures, and some of the major events that shaped the characters, dealt with pretty prefunctorily. It has a few nice moments, but it was easy for me to put it down... and if it had been a longer book, I might have been tempted to stop reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿I¿m afraid, even now, that I fail to see why an accident at birth should have bound us together so firmly.¿ This riveting novel touches on some of the brisk and ugly truths about the state of minorities in academia. Jerome Washington a Latin Professor that made it out of the inner city finds himself lost in an elite world of an all boys prep school with no connection to the world from which he came. In an effort to improve his situation he has managed to develop a seething self-hatred that seeds the plot of this novel. Enter Rashid Bryson an African American teenager with the academic ablity to earn himself a scholarship to the Chelsea school for boys, upon seeing Prof. Washington as the only African American Professor at Chelsea he elects to take his course in Latin with the hopes of forging a bond with the professor. When Rashid¿s intial intentions take an unexpected turn for the worse he learns a difficult lesson that for most African Americans in higher education is not a foreign idea. This novel touches on the dynamics of race, sex, and love and is a quick and interesting read. If you are a student or a professor I highly recommend Ms Southgate¿s first novel THE FALL OF ROME