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"Kneale's account is a masterpiece of pacing and suspense. Characters from the city's history spring to life in his hands." —The Sunday Times (London) Novelist and historian Matthew Kneale, a longtime resident of Rome, tells the story of the Eternal City—from the early Roman Republic through the Renaissance and the Reformation to Mussolini and the German occupation in World War Two—through pivotal moments that defined its history. Rome, the Eternal City. It is a hugely popular tourist destination with a rich history, famed for such sites as the Colosseum, the Forum, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s, and the Vatican. In no other city is history as present as it is in Rome. Today visitors can stand on bridges that Julius Caesar and Cicero crossed; walk around temples in the footsteps of emperors; visit churches from the earliest days of Christianity. This is all the more remarkable considering what the city has endured over the centuries. It has been ravaged by fires, floods, earthquakes, and—most of all—by roving armies. These have invaded repeatedly, from ancient times to as recently as 1943. Many times Romans have shrugged off catastrophe and remade their city anew. Matthew Kneale uses seven of these crisis moments to create a powerful and captivating account of Rome’s extraordinary history. He paints portraits of the city before each assault, describing what it looked like, felt like, smelled like and how Romans, both rich and poor, lived their everyday lives. He shows how the attacks transformed Rome—sometimes for the better. With drama and humor he brings to life the city of Augustus, of Michelangelo and Bernini, of Garibaldi and Mussolini, and of popes both saintly and very worldly. He shows how Rome became the chaotic and wondrous place it is today. Rome: A History in Seven Sackings offers a unique look at a truly remarkable city.
Daily Telegraph's Best History Books of 2017 Sunday Times' Best History Books of 2017 Nominated for the 2017 Pen Hessell-Tiltman A sweeping history of the city of Rome, seen through the eyes of its most significant sackings, from the Gauls to the Nazis and everything in between. No city on earth has preserved its past as Rome has. Visitors can cross bridges that were crossed by Cicero and Julius Caesar, explore temples visited by Roman emperors, and step into churches that have hardly changed since popes celebrated mass in them sixteen centuries ago. These architectural survivals are all the more remarkable considering the many disasters that have struck the city. Rome has been afflicted by earthquakes, floods, fires and plagues, but most of all it has been repeatedly ravaged by roving armies. From the Gauls to the Nazis, Matthew Kneale tells the stories behind the seven most important of these attacks and reveals, with fascinating insight, how they transformed the city - and not always for the worse. Using this entirely new approach to Rome's past he unveils how it became the city it is today. A meticulously researched, magical blend of travelogue, social and cultural history, Rome: A History in Seven Sackings is a celebration of the fierce courage, panache and vitality of the Roman people. Most of all, it is a passionate love letter to this incomparable city. 'A masterpiece of pacing and suspense' Sunday Times 'Fascinating... A delight' The Times 'Book of the Week'
Narrated by over twenty distinct voices and full of dangerous humour, English Passengers combines wit, adventure and historical detail in a mesmerizing display of storytelling. When Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley and his band of smugglers have their contraband confiscated they are forced to put their ship, Sincerity, up for charter. The only takers are two Englishmen, the Reverend Geoffrey Wilson, who believes that the Garden of Eden was on the island of Tasmania, and Dr. Thomas Potter who is developing his sinister thesis concerning the races of man. Meanwhile an aboriginal in Tasmania, Peevay, recounts his people's struggles against the invading British. As the English passengers haplessly approach his land, their bizarre notions ever more painfully at odds with reality, we know a mighty collision is looming. From the Trade Paperback edition.
What first prompted prehistoric man, sheltering in the shadows of deep caves, to call upon the realm of the spirits? And why has belief thrived since, shaping thousands of generations of shamans, pharaohs, Aztec priests and Mayan rulers, Jews, Buddhists, Christians, Nazis, and Scientologists? As our dreams and nightmares have changed over the millennia, so have our beliefs. The gods we created have evolved and mutated with us through a narrative fraught with human sacrifice, political upheaval and bloody wars. Belief was man's most epic labor of invention. It has been our closest companion, and has followed mankind across the continents and through history.
The author of the award-winning novel English Passengers takes readers around the world in twelve deftly crafted stories that illuminate the uncertainties of life at home and abroad. Matthew Kneale received high praise for the prize-winning English Passengers, an epic romp on the high seas and across nineteenth-century cultures, ingeniously woven together by a multitude of narrators. In Small Crimes In An Age of Abundance, Kneale brings his mastery of storytelling to our present morally ambiguous world. Set in lands ranging from England to China, South America, the Middle East, and Africa, these powerfully themed stories follow ordinary people as they try to survive and make sense of their worlds. We follow a well-intentioned English family who leave their tour group in China to travel alone, and collide with the ruthless side of the country, slowly becoming complicit in its violence; a ploddingly respectable London lawyer who chances upon a stash of cocaine and realizes it offers the wealth and status he hungers for; a salesman in Africa who becomes caught up in a riot that turns his life upside down; a self-doubting suicide bomber. Kneale transports readers across continents in a nanosecond, reaching to the heart of faraway societies with rare perceptiveness. As the stories gain momentum — tense, funny, and always compassionate — they make readers see the world in a new way. At times reminiscent of Julian Barnes’s A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, at times Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table, Small Crimes In An Age of Abundance is a groundbreaking book, by a master narrator of the uncertainties of our time. From the Hardcover edition.
For a thousand years, Rome was enshrined in myth and legend as the Eternal City. No Grand Tour would be complete without a visit to its ruins. But from 1870 all that changed. A millennium ended as its solitary moonlit ruins became floodlit monuments on traffic islands, and its perimeter shifted from the ancient nineteen-kilometre wall with twelve gates to a fifty-kilometre ring road with thirty-three roundabouts and spaghetti junctions. The Rome We Have Lost is the first full investigation of this change. John Pemble musters popes, emperors, writers, exiles, and tourists, to weave a rich fabric of Roman experience. He tells the story of how, why, and with what consequences that Rome, centre of Europe and the world, became a national capital: no longer central and unique, but marginal and very similar in its problems and its solutions to other modern cities with a heavy burden of 'heritage'. This far-reaching book illuminates the historical significance of Rome's transformation and the crisis that Europe is now confronting as it struggles to re-invent without its ancestral centre -- the city that had made Europe what it was, and defined what it meant to be European.

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