Author(s): Peter Stothard
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 unprecedented. The Spartacus Road is the route along which this rebel army outfought the Roman legions between 73 and 71 BC, 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.
'On the Spartacus Road makes for a wonderfully rich and endlessly thought-provoking brew, part ancient history, part modern travelogue, part personal memoir, with a distinctly philosophical strain!Beautifully written, musing and far-sighted!here is Stothard not just as a fine and engaging historian, but a historian with an imagination that can vault with ease over two millennia!an outstanding success.' Christopher Hart, Literary Review 'Stothard puts his literary knowledge, journalistic skills and classical erudition to powerful use!an astonishing tale of men fighting against the odds for reasons they themselves hardly understand, and by using a mix of personal travel narrative and historical re-enactment, Stothard brings it to life triumphantly.' Giles Foden 'Haunting, erudite and beautifully written!it is proudly and defiantly, the very opposite of journalism: a fusion of memoir, history and travelogue that is unlike any other book ever written about Spartacus, and all the more precious for being quite so unexpected.' Tom Holland, Spectator 'An intriguing book that is impossible to categorize: ancient history, travelogue, memoir and biography all at once!compelling.' The Times 'The account of a survivor!a pilgrimage of atonement by a former Oxford classicist, who loved his texts but never gave them the attention they deserved, and who uses the landmarks of the Spartacus road as a literary-historical-philosophical meditation on life and death.' Boris Johnson, Mail on Sunday
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.