Dangerous Days in the Roman Empire is the first in a new adult series by Terry Deary, the author of the hugely best-selling Horrible Histories, popular among children for their disgusting details, gory information and sharp wit, and among adults for engaging children (and themselves) with history.
The Romans have long been held up as one of the first 'civilised' societies, and yet in fact they were capable of immense cruelty. Not only that, but they made the killing of humans into a sport. The spoiled emperors were the perpetrators (and sometimes the victims) of some imaginative murders.
Dangerous Days in the Roman Empire will include some of the violent ways to visit the Elysian Fields (i.e. death) including: animal attack in the Coliseum; being thrown from the Tarpeian Rock - 370 deserters in 214 AD alone (or if the emperor didn't like your poetry); by volcanic eruption from Vesuvius; by kicking (Nero's fatal quarrel with the Empress Poppea); from poison mushrooms (Claudius); by great fires; torturous tarring; flogging to death; boiling lead (the invention of 'kind' Emperor Constantine); or being skinned alive by invading barbarians. Dangerous Days in the Roman Empire looks at the back-story leading up to the victims' deaths, and in doing so gives the general reader a concise history of a misunderstood era.
Read by Mitch Benn. Mitch Benn found fame as the singer of spectacularly angry, clever and funny songs on the Now Show before writing (and narrating) his debut novel Terra. He used to be a big, angry, clever and funny man. Now he is just angry, clever and funny. He tours regularly and is in pretty much permanent residence with his band at the Phoenix theatre in Bloomsbury. He is married and has a young daughter. He also has over 20,000 followers on Twitter.
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Nothing, it seems to be lots of little snippets of information about the Roman empire put down in no particular order very difficult to follow.
Would you ever listen to anything by Terry Deary again?
Probably not it seems he doesnt have structure to his books and just spays interesting facts or bizarre things that have happened at the listener hoping that it works.
How could the performance have been better?
The performance was fine, more down to the book being bad.
You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?
Some interesting facts once you were able to process them and stopped trying to figure out how the fact links to the previous fact you were told!