Ivo Crnkovic-Rubsamen's Reviews > Memoirs of Hadrian

Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar
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M 50x66
's review
Jul 22, 2011

it was amazing
Read in July, 2011

Hadrian's memoirs is a fantastic book. A semi-fictionalized, but extensively researched biography of one of Rome's most important emperor's, it has a goodly amount of historical detail, keeping the narrative grounded and constantly reminding the reader that Hadrian's emotional conflicts were mirrored on the stage of a world ruled by his armies. Yourcenar fully fleshes out Hadrian's character, painting an engrossing portrait of a man who fought his whole life for peace in the empire, yet never flinched from drowning a rebellion in blood. One could argue that the climax of the book is in the war in israel, where Hadrian overseas the absolute dissolution of the Hebrew state, in a manner not at all characterized by his painstaking diplomacy in other areas. Overall, excellently written, with simple but evocative language, well constructed and perfectly executed.

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