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doc ¸ reader The Shadow of Vesuvius A Life of Pliny ✓ Join or create book clubs ✓ ➲ The Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny Read ➺ Author Join or create book clubs – “A wonderfully rich witty insightful and wide ranging portrait of the tMperor Trajan A biography that will appeal to lovers of Mary Beard books it is also a moving narrative about the profound influence of a father figure on his adopted son Interweaving the younger Pliny’s Letters with extracts from the Elder’s Natural History Daisy Dunn paints a vivid compellingly readable portrait of two of antiuity’s greatest minds 8 illustration If “The Shadow of Vesuvius” were a movie up for an Oscar Pliny the Elder would be nominated for best supporting actor His nephew Pliny would win Best Actor Such are their relative roles featured in this combined biographyThe two had much in common Pliny the Elder was tormented thinking about “the injustice of being forgotten” Pliny according to author Daisy Dunn believed “a man is happiest when he can be confident his name will live forever” Both worked hard enough to make Pliny’s happy wish come true producing work still in print; the Elder’s encyclopedic “Natural History” and Pliny ‘s LettersBoth men boiled with a ferocious work ethic driving themselves to work endless hours In fact the younger Pliny wrote of the Elder “he had a sharp intellect incomparable concentration and a formidable ability to stay awake”The Elder was unuenchably curious the trait that got him killed by the volcano The younger Pliny aside from his work as a lawyer senator and public official was at heart a speechwriterorator described as one who believed “his reputation depended upon what people remembered of his speeches” To that end uoting Virgil he wouldn’t even mind or so he wrote to an admired friend being recalled as “second best but by a long way” One doubts itA charming book centered largely on the younger Pliny “The Shadow of Vesuvius” sparkles with random factoids from the source of the phrase “in a nutshell” to the possible origin of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” These small digressions feed rather than impede the narrativeCompared to the voluminous work left behind by the Pliny’s this book is but an index card of their lives But it’s a well written illuminating enjoyable card enthusiastically recommended

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“A wonderfully rich witty insightful and wide ranging portrait of the two Plinys and their world”―Sarah Bakewell author of How to LiveWhen Pliny the Elder perished at Stabiae during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD he left behind an enormous compendium of knowledge his thirty seven volume Natural History and a teenaged nephew who revered him as a father Grieving The Shadow of Vesuvius is the interweaving of the biographies of two key personages of the Pagan Roman Empire Pliny the Elder and his nephew Pliny the Younger It takes its title from the fact that the elder Pliny perished heroically in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD But the book actually focuses on Pliny the Younger well known for his literary letters to emperors historians and sundry members of the Roman upper classesSince the book is written for general interest and not classicists it may be necessary to point out why these figures are worth recalling Pliny the Elder wrote the longest surviving work of Roman antiuity Called the Natural History it is an encyclopedic account of what Western antiuity knew of the natural world biology botany mineralogy etcThe Shadow of Vesuvius does not focus as much on the importance of their works as on an engaging portrait of their lives And it does so successfully The Plinys come to life as surprisingly familiar to modern figures in a way the Renaissance recognized and celebrated They have romances mourn their loved ones manage large estates and deal with tyrannical rulers They are not a far cry from the lives and thinking of the American foundersWhile the classicist will find much they already know those with a less than professional interest in antiuity will enjoy being reintroduced to these two fascinating figures While they may not pick up a copy of the Natural History they will be entertained and enlightened about the Roman golden eraHighly recommended

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The Shadow of Vesuvius A Life of PlinyHis loss Pliny the Younger inherited the Elder’s notebooks―filled with pearls of wisdom―and his legacy At its heart The Shadow of Vesuvius is a literary biography of the younger man who would grow up to become a lawyer senator poet collector of villas and chronicler of the Roman Empire from the dire days of terror under Emperor Domitian to the gentler times of E I really wanted to like this as I find both the Plinys to be fascinating characters living in a fascinating time Unfortunately the book was rambling It needed a lot of editing and probably would have been a fantastic book at about 23 the word count I was also disappointed that the book left very very unclear what was documented history what was plausible surmise and what was made up out of whole cloth I also would have liked to have seen about Pliny the Elder