By Will Barber Taylor
‘Here was Rome’ guides readers – whether at home in their armchairs or as visitors to Rome – on a tour of the city taking in the sites in chronological order so that the history unfolds on the journey. Its mix of informed description, colourful anecdote and historical knowledge is based on the author’s lifetime fascination with the Roman Empire. The book is as much about people as places, conjuring vague shadows from the pages of ancient writers and dry textbooks, putting them back in the places where they loved, fought, traded and intrigued when alive.
‘Here was Rome’ is a fascinating, detailed and impressive guide to a world that has long since vanished into the mire of historical record. Presented in the same format and style as any other travel guide, the book directs the reader through Ancient Rome as if it still existed – as if you could walk into the Forum when Caesar, Pompey, Cicero and other famous Romans were giving their great speeches.
Victor Sonkin does an excellent job in detailing what a journey through Ancient Rome would have been like and the sites that still exist and can be visited today. Sonkin never becomes too detailed to bore or too generic to make his work seem as if it has no substance. He treads the careful line between detail and description. Through Sonkin’s distinctive voice, we get a true feel for Ancient Rome and an honest and frank understanding as to what life was like during the Republic and Empire.
Sonkin artfully combines his words with beautiful drawings and photographs. The drawings of what Rome would have looked like are exquisite and add colour to Sonkin’s wonderful descriptions. Similarly, the photographs used are excellent and bring the book to life in a way that other travel books could only hope to do.
Victor Sonkin’s book is majestic, wonderful and throbbing with life. It takes the dead place that was Ancient Rome and brings it to life. Sonkin revives the ghosts of Rome’s past and places them back in the places they loved, laughed, fought and died. Sonkin’s book is one of the finest imaginings of Ancient Rome published in recent years and is a must have for both enthusiasts of Ancient History and anyone who simply wants to explore the Eternal City.
With thanks to Sky Scraper books. You can purchase a copy of Here Was Rome directly from Amazon here.