ROME by Robert Hughes (Still waiting on my review copy… taps foot)

by |June 29, 2011

Rome is irrepressible. It is a city of ruins and yet it is always new. It has been beaten, sacked, bombed and occupied but wakes noisy and smiling every morning. In Rome’s streets we find humanity at its most vital, beautiful, dangerous, sweet and thoughtful.

It is no great wonder so many visitors fall in love with Rome. It’s no wonder that so many have tried to understand the city. Now prize-winning writer and critic Robert Hughes unravels some of the mystery with dazzling biography of the Eternal City.

The overarching achievement of this vibrant, opinionated, detailed new look at the Eternal City is that it forces the reader to look at Rome with new eyes.

The approach is chronological, the method to take a  mass of historical detail and shape it into a cohesive, narrative, sweeping from on event, movement, influence or person to another, leaving us with so much information and rekindled curiosity that many will want to visit, or re-visit, Rome a the first opportunity.

Who should read it? Anyone with any feeling for this magnificent city!

(Australian Bookseller and Publisher. 5 Star review)

From the publisher:

Robert Hughes, one of the most celebrated art critics and cultural commentators turns his attention to the timelessly fascinating city of Rome.

In this magisterial history, Robert Hughes identifies seven distinct cultural episodes: the city’s Etruscan beginnings, Julius Caesar and the birth of the Imperium, primitive Christianity and the growth of the Church, the Renaissance, the Baroque and the Neo-Classic, the Rome of Fascism and Mussolini and, finally, the Rome of the 1960s – the era of Fellini, la dolce vita and the birth of the paparazzo.

The founding of Rome is shrouded in legend, but current archaeological evidence supports the theory that Rome grew from pastoral settlements and coalesced into a city in the 8th century BC. It developed into the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and finally the Roman Empire. For almost a thousand years, Rome was the most politically important, richest and largest city in the Western world.

About The Author

Robert Hughes was born in Australia in 1938. Since 1970 he has lived and worked in the United States, where until 2001 he was chief art critic for Time, to which he still contributes. His books include The Shock of the New,and The Fatal Shore. He is the recipient of a number of awards and prizes for his work.

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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