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'
Matthew Kneale was born in London in 1960, the son and grandson of writers. He studied Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford. Fascinated with diverse cultures, he travelled to more than eighty countries and tried his hand at learning a number of foreign languages, including Japanese, Ethiopian Amharic, Romanian and Albanian. He has written five novels, including English Passengers, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award. His latest was a non-fiction history book, An Atheist's History of Belief. For the last fifteen years he has lived in Rome with his wife and two children.