Bob Reed's Reviews > Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor

Augustus by Anthony Everitt
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M 50x66
's review
Jul 16, 2011

really liked it
Read in July, 2011

This was a great read. While I am biased because I love this time period, the story of Octavius/Augustus is one of the great stories of history. I read this immediately after reading "Why the West Rules For Now" and it seemed to me that this was an excellent counter to the argument that the fate of civilizations is pre-determined by forces of nature outside the control of man. In Octavius'/Augustus' case, one man did affect the course of history. Two things I found amazing about him: Firstly, how young he was when he impacted Roman politics: He was in his teens when he became a prominent leader in Roman politics. He was commanding great armies in his early twenties. Secondly, he wasn't a very good military leader and he had a nasty habit of getting sick and staying in bed whenever there was a great battle to be fought (especially in the early years). Yet his force of personality was such that he commanded the allegiance of those who had greater talents than he and he rode that to glorious accomplishments. What I didn't get from the book was what he was like. What about him attracted others to him and caused them to be willing to sacrifice their own pursuit of glory in order to support his? That's what kept this book from being a 5-star. Hey, I know that's a tough ask, but I don't give 5-stars easily. (In fact, have yet to give one!)

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