In this inspiring and original book, former editor of The Times, Sir Peter Stothard, re-traces the journey taken by Spartacus and his army of rebels.
In the final century of the first Roman Republic an army of slaves brought a peculiar terror to the people of Italy. Its leaders were gladiators. Its purpose was incomprehensible. Its success was something no one before had ever known.
The Spartacus Road is the route along which this rebel army outfought the Roman legions between 73 and 71BC, bringing both fears and hopes that have never wholly left the modern mind. It is a road that stretches through 2,000 miles of Italian countryside and out into 2,000 years of world history.
In this inspiring and original memoir, the former editor of The Times, Peter Stothard, takes us on an extraordinary journey. The result is a book like none other - at once a journalist's notebook, a classicist's celebration, a survivor's record of a near fatal cancer and the history of a unique and brutal war.
As he travels along the Spartacus road - through the ruins of Capua to Vesuvius and the lost Greek cities of the Italian south - Stothard's prose illuminates conflicting memories of times ancient and modern, the simultaneously foreign and familiar, one of the greatest stories of all ages. Sweepingly erudite and strikingly personal, "On the Spartacus Road" is non-fiction writing of the highest order.
`A journey to be relished...For this is the story of a pursuit, and of a pilgrimage...Stothard brings to bear a lifetime of classical study, a scholar's nose for the keenest truffles amongst the footnotes and implications of the bagful of well-thumbed texts he has packed for the road, as well as an instinct for salient gossip and an easy manner with strangers....He is relaxed, amused, observant, and refreshingly unstuffy....weaving his tale through the dreamy underworld of ancient poems and letters, portraying a land as vicious and prejudiced and redemptive, as strange and familiar as our own.' Tom Adair, Scotsman
Praise for `30 Days: A Month at the Heart of Blair's War':
`An observant, thought-provoking book, written with admirable lightness of touch.' Evening Standard
`Stothard expertly shapes a narrative in which Blair manages to stick by his principles...' Publishers Weekly
`Peter Stothard's terrific book...' New York Times
`A remarkable encapsulation of history' Kirkus
Peter Stothard was editor of The Times from 1992 to 2002, the period of its greatest commercial success for a century, and is currently editor of the Times Literary Supplement. He was knighted for his services to newspapers in 2003. He has written extensively on politics and literature.