Hidden Rome

Hidden Rome

by Frank J. Korn
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Hidden Rome 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For a book billing itself as `Hidden Rome' it is a surprisingly superficial work that does little to get below the skin of this city. Worse still, it is badly, amateurishly written in the style of a schoolboy's essay, which, lacking in any maturity of insight, falls back on constant use of superlatives to describe each and every subject glowingly. For author Korn, there is not a statue, fountain, habit, priest, piazza or meal that is not 'the most wondrous', 'the most sublime', 'perhaps the finest', or simply 'surely the greatest' of its kind. The trite writing informs us that the Papal States came into being as a result of 'two Roman emperors whose names begin with the letter C - Constantine and Charlemagne', Korn, evidently delighting in this startling coincidence. And, although (at time of writing) Pope John Paul II is still alive, Korn tells us that this pontiff 'lived out the remainder of his earthly days in the pontificate'. Perhaps Korn knows something of the Popes death and a cover up that we are unaware of, and that this is the 'hidden' Rome promised in the book's title. The book is not arranged in any way that allows a useful understanding of Rome by neighborhood, period of history, or by a walking tour. Too brief descriptions, (little more than an expanded list, actually) temp the reader with corny leaders - the well known and very much un-hidden `Bocca della Verita' is described as an 'ancient lie detector', - but these intros invariably disappoint. Korn bills himself as 'an internationally recognized expert on Rome'. Reading this book, one wonders whether he has ever been there (with his eyes and ears open to first-hand experience), or whether he merely compiled bits and pieces from other guide books and histories. As a frequent visitor to Rome, and a student of Roman history and urbanism, I found this book added nothing to the lore of Rome. It is quite possibly the worst book on the subject I have encountered. Look elsewhere, almost anywhere, for a better narrative and a better insight on the subject. H.V. Morton's 'A Traveler in Rome' is a great place to start. But don't waste your time or your money on this cliched and boring nonsense.