Oct 27, 2013 — Rita Mae Brown, author of Rubyfruit Jungle and several mystery series, first read Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars in college. It's hardly a staid Latin history book — in fact, it's Brown's favorite guilty pleasure. An academic-looking cover hides a raunchy, violent, thrilling book, she says, full of "around-the-clock degradation."
Jul 14, 2013 — When crime writer Karin Slaughter was struggling to find a good literary relationship, she turned to the Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis. She learned about togas and scrolls and came away with a new template for a happy marriage.
Aug 5, 2012 — In the new book, The Rise of Rome, author Anthony Everitt tracks Rome's ascension from a small market town to the greatest empire in the ancient world. Along the way, he traces the rise of some of the ancient world's most powerful players.
Jul 15, 2011 — NPR coverage of Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio by Amara Lakhous and Ann Goldstein. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
Feb 2, 2011 — This week's fiction ranges from Robert Harris' take on Cicero's year as leader of Rome, to Louise Erdrich's twisted story of a marriage, to Walter Mosley's second Leonid McGill detective novel. In nonfiction, Elizabeth Gilbert gets Committed, and Michael Lewis probes The Big Short.
Sep 28, 2010 — Antony and Cleopatra are among history's most famous lovers. The story of their affair, their war, their defeat and, finally, their suicides has been told and retold for centuries. Now, Adrian Goldsworthy, author of Antony and Cleopatra, uncovers the couple's true story.
Jul 13, 2010 — Ancient Rome is often thought of as consistently victorious but its defeat at the hands of Carthage in 216 B.C. is one of the most studied and imitated battles of all time. Historian Robert L. O'Connell tells the story of Carthage's unexpected victory in The Ghosts of Cannae.
Feb 9, 2010 — Three novels of past and present: Lynn Neary reviews the "perfect" novel for our down economy — written before the banks failed. Steve Inskeep reads a tale of political infighting resonant of today, but that follows events in Cicero's Rome. And Alan Cheuse celebrates The Lost Books of the Odyssey, a novel both timeless and very contemporary.
Feb 2, 2010 — The legend of Spartacus has inspired so many fanciful retellings, it's easy to lose track of what actually happened back in 73 BC. In The Spartacus War, Barry Strauss gives a historical account of the charismatic rebel who inspired a slave revolt against Rome.
Nov 20, 2008 — Reading shouldn't be work; it should be pleasure, even as it teaches us something about ourselves, or about the world of history and time.