Pub. Date:
Taylor & Francis
Spartacus / Edition 1

Spartacus / Edition 1

by Howard Fast
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The best-selling novel about a slave revolt in ancient Rome and the basis for the popular motion picture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781563245992
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 09/30/1996
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 372
Sales rank: 481,800
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: 990L (what's this?)
Age Range: 18 Years

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Spartacus 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw the 1960 movie (after reading the comic book based on the movie that year...what kid does not like adventure stories? I then read the book in 1968 when I found it in a used book store. Sure, Fast is a socialist...I'm a Republican, so what! The first review by Octavius may have some valid points from an intellectual, historical point of view but this book is not about 'swordfighting' or 'rebellion', it is about the relationship of men to women and people to each other. It is a romantic historical novel and I do not think that Fast could have written it without being inspired by his first late wife whom he was married to for a very long many ways, it is a tribute to her. This book does draw a contrast between the 'degenerate' Romans and the 'noble' slaves. Of course all the Romans were not degenerates and all the slaves were not noble. Fast's book is just a story. Arthur Koestler looks at the Spartacus tale and uses it as a vehicle to draw a portrait of the 'Evolution of Revolution'....very excellent. His Spartacus sets up a state in southern Italy based in Metapontum (a city which Spartacus actually conquered). Many problems exist with setting up a new state and Koestler goes into this. Sometimes, the new state can be just as wicked as the old but Koestler's Spartacus is an 'evolving character' begining as a simple 'circus performer' to a more inspired human being. The fact remains however that in 73 BC Gladiators in Capua broke out of 'close confinement'. People who are happy, don't revolt. Gladiators could obtain freedom and even become wealthy, like today's sports figures. Something 'got under the craw' of these gladiators. They escaped to Vesuvius where they were safe for a while. Other slaves joined them, swelling their numbers to perhaps 70,000. Sparatcus was an excellent general. Like George Washington, he knew it was important to keep an army 'in the field'. Spartacus wanted to 'sue the Romans for peace'. He had the right idea but he was not sophisticated enough to understand that a separate state on the Italian Penninsula was not acceptable to the Romans. This all comes out in the fragments available to us in he sketchy Roman record....Livy,Plutarch,Appian, Florus, Saullist Accounts which were written by Roman historians about 100 years after Spartacus. The revolt failed after the Romans managed to intercept and destroy the army of Crixus. Crixus (a gladiator comrade of Spartacus) commanded about half of Spartacus's troops. One army would act as a 'anvil-pivot', while the other army would be the 'hammer'. Between them they would trap and slaughter the Romans. The Roman historians say that some of the Roman soldiers would try to defect to Spartacus but 'he would not have them'...fearing, I guess that they would be spies. Spartacus was no doubt smart and he must have been charasmatic or the whole armed rebellion would have dissolved shortly after the gladiators escaped their confines. The Romans managed to trap Crixus and destroy his army. With a major defeat, other slaves thought twice about joining the armed rebellion. Now, it was just a matter of time before the Romans finally wore down Spartacus to a point where he became weak enough to defeat in direct battle. Actually, Fast's story all comes down to focusing on Varinia, the wife of Spartacus. Everyone in this book talks about her because the story is done in retrospective from the point of view of the Wealthy Romans who were trying to make some sense of the slave revolt. In effect, Varinia is the 'lone survivor' of the revolt. Fast wrote this book under very difficult circumstances and he was in jail for a short period of time when he wrote parts of this book. Without that 'experience', he probably could not have written his book as well as he did. It is beautifully written with picturesque descriptions of the Italian country side during the Roman Republic. I think men and woman, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends sho
Guest More than 1 year ago

In the book 'Spartacus,' by Howard Fast the reader encounters an amazing story about a gladiator slave, named Spartacus. Spartacus led almost fifty thousand slaves, in a four-year revolt against the Roman Republic. While the book is about Spartacus' slave rebellion, the story primarily focuses on the post-war actions and feeling of several upper class Roman citizens, and the profound impact that the slave rebellion had on these few individuals. 'Spartacus' is and excellent book worth readinb, because it gives much insight into many of life's lessons.

There are many ways and techniques in which the author, Fast, makes this epic tale come alive. The single most noticeable literary technique, is a type of writing using a flashback approach. The story starts several months after the Servile War. The story is told backwards in the sense that it can only be seen when the characters are remembering and talking about Spartacus' slave rebellion. The characters are used in this fashion, because normally, it would not make sense to tell the story of a hero, who in the end simply loses. The author also wants to emphasize the effect of Sparatacus' war, on the citizens. This approach works very well, because the reader gets to understand many different points of view about the Servile War, and more importantly the reader can truly see the emotional impact that this war had on the people of Rome. The author uses this flashback technique to weave an intricate, fascinating, and heartbreaking tale, that shows how the elite of Roman society, those with wealth and power, for the first time began to see that slaves were not objects, but human beings. They began to recognize how wrong they were in their treatment of the slaves, and many of them, for the first time, recognized their inner faults. Oddly enough they became envious of the god-like man named Spartacus, because he had all of the qualities of a righteous man, that they did not posses.