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1. The Great Fire of Rome: The Fall
2. Blood of the Caesars: How the
3. The Ides: Caesar's Murder and
4. Mark Antony's Heroes: How the
5. This Is Not the Life I Ordered:
6. Eye Contact
7. Double Exposure
8. Nero's Killing Machine
9. The Inquest
10. Conflict Sociology: A Sociological
11. Cleopatra's Kidnappers: How Caesars
12. Beautiful Dreamer: The Life of
13. Mark Antony's Heroes
14. Stephen Collins Foster: Sixty
15. Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga
16. Stephen Collins Foster: A Biography
17. Stephen Foster;: Or, Weep no more
18. Stephen Collins Foster: A Biography
19. Foster Hall: A reminder of the
20. Stephen Collins Foster: July 4,

1. The Great Fire of Rome: The Fall of the Emperor Nero and His City
by Stephen Dando-Collins
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2010-09-07)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$9.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0306818906
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

On the night of July 19, AD 64, a fire began beneath the stands of Rome’s great stadium, the Circus Maximus. For more than a week the fire spread, engulfing most of the city and nearly burning it to the ground. With its capital in ruins, Rome’s powerful empire teetered on the edge of collapse as Nero struggled desperately to save his empire…and his skin.

In The Great Fire of Rome, Dando-Collins takes readers through the streets of ancient Rome, where unrest simmers, and into the imperial palace, where political intrigue seethes, relating a pot-boiler story filled with fascinating historical characters who will determine the course of an empire. It is an unforgettable human drama that brings ancient Rome and the momentous events of 64 AD scorchingly to life.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars gah!
Awful.He nearly wets himself in his eagerness to be an apologist for Nero, and his attempts to alter the historical record of Nero's persecution of Christians by stating that "followers of Christ" originally read "followers of Isis," and that "Christians" originally read "Egyptians" are mind-numbing.What proof does he have?Umm.None.He vaguely asserts that those dastardly Christian scribes altered the texts and that there weren't enough Christians in Rome to persecute, and the Romans considered them Jews anyhow (that second point being a resounding "so what?" moment).He also claims that there is no evidence that Christians were called Christians that early.Hello?Mr. Dando-Collins?This is Earth speaking.The New Testament gives evidence that the label was applied quite early, and Mr. Dando-Collins seems pleased as punch to use the New Testament when it suits him, though somehow he also missed the fact that Paul explicitly stated that he was born a Roman citizen.Dando-Collins ignorantly states that there is no mention of how Paul gained his citizenship while using the New Testament to show that Paul was a citizen!Hello!!!!

Perhaps Dando-Collins might next want to be an apologist for Hitler.And if he is going to use a text (such as the Bible or any other text) he might want to read the whole thing.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading behind the Great Fire of Rome
This book reflects on the how the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD led to the fall of Emperor Nero four years later. Much of the book is filled with background material prior to the fire. However, from the author's point of view, it did appears that Nero initially tried to fight the fires although later on, he took advantages of what the end result of the fire provided him. Interestingly, the book didn't write much about the Christians being tormented as we see in some Hollywood movies. Perhaps the author realized (as many of us already knew) that there wasn't enough Christians in Rome during that time to create a scapegoat complex. So Nero went after the followers of Egyptian Goddess Iris who were more numerous in number. Nero seek a scapegoat because the growing rumours even back then, that he had a hand in the fire. Despite of Nero's best efforts, this wasn't going away so he needed a fall guy to take the blame. The book covered the fact that even afterward, many Roman historians still blame Nero for the fire. Whether this was a calculated effort at misinformation, it hard to tell. The book does say that most of Nero's contemporary historians does NOT blame Nero for the fire. But the negative press that Nero suffered from the fire during his life time, plus his frivolous lifestyle and his murderous tendencies, led to his downfall which was universally hailed in great rejoicing. The book does a very good job in describing all that in a very readable material. The author does take certain "liberties" with drama within the historical context but overall, I found the book highly entertaining and somewhat educational.

5-0 out of 5 stars Historical Who Done It at Its Best!
Did Nero really set fire to Rome in 64AD? More than just a convenient slam against a failed emperor, this book solves the historical puzzle and is interesting reading. ... Read more

2. Blood of the Caesars: How the Murder of Germanicus Led to the Fall of Rome
by Stephen Dando-Collins
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2008-02-26)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$5.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 047013741X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Could the killing of Germanicus Julius Caesar—the grandson of Mark Antony, adopted son of the emperor Tiberius, father of Caligula, and grandfather of Nero—while the Roman Empire was still in its infancy have been the root cause of the empire's collapse more than four centuries later? This brilliant investigation of Germanicus Caesar’s death and its aftermath is both a compelling history and first-class murder mystery with a plot twist Agatha Christie would envy. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting though flawed
Blood of the Caesars is a popular history review masquerading as a murder mystery inside some pretty wild speculation on what might have been, written by a very knowledgeable researcher who makes an interesting argument, but ultimately I think overstates his case.

Dando-Collins goes into the character of Germanicus, heir apparent to Tiberius (and could potentially have been to Augustus still earlier), a charismatic, talented, and hugely popular military leader, murdered at the height of his popularity.The author's point is that (a) his murderer was never really convincingly identified (though Piso's suicide ended the historical inquiry); and (b) had the murder not taken place, Germanicus would likely have eventually succeeded to the throne, and be in a position to extend the Julio-Claudian line through his many children and potential grandchildren into the far distant future, avoiding the disasters represented by Emperors such as Caligula, Nero, and the mostly disappointing successors holding the office for the next several hundred years.

The historical work relies on the classical sources writing somewhat after the fact, but may well be the best we have, though much of what is repeated here is at least arguably a little one-sided.The facts surrounding the murder trial are well-done; it's when we get into the unknowable motivations of the key players (and potential murder suspects) that we run into trouble.The eventual accusing a particular character, not previously considered as a possibility, as the murderer of Germanicus at the end of the book, seems to me somewhat very circumstantial, and not entirely convincing.It is the weakest part of the book.

The speculation on what might have been is also a little much.When one says that the rule and subsequent line of Germanicus would have been so consequential, beneficial, and positive, one overlooks the fact that Caligula and Nero in fact were part of that line.Admittedly, without the serious thinning out of his family by rivals, these particular successors (3rd son and grandson) might not have been in line; but there is no guarantee that the first or second son, or another grandson, would have been dramatically different.Further, the Roman Empire in the West did in fact last another 400 years after Nero's death; we will see if the American empire lasts as long.

However, much of the book goes into the story of the family of Germanicus, jealousy and rivalry at court, and the twists and turns of fortune in this arena.It is an interesting and absorbing story, often told in one way or another, and always worth revisiting.Dando-Collins has studied well and deeply on the Roman Empire, and while this book is not perfact, it remains well worth reading if only to see whether or not you agree with his positions.

4-0 out of 5 stars History vs whodunnit
Having read quite a few books on Augustus' times up to Nero -- including the sources like Tacitus-- I find Collins' book very well documented indeed and even facinating.It is also very well written and "can't put it down" type.
But why did Collins yielded to his editor's pressure to turn the book into a whodunnit? and added this shamefull last chapter to accuse the poor Seneca, just because he lived at the same time (and yet his birthdate has been moved back 4 years to fits the plot). It doesn't make sense one split second! Too bad!It will cost him a star

3-0 out of 5 stars Fools gold for a golden age
This is a very interesting book, but ultimately the author has produced a flawed product. The is work by Dando Collins suffers from two fatal flaws. The first is that his basic thesis, that the death of Germanicus weakened Rome, setting the stage for a series of weak and corrupt rulers, thereby leading to the western empires eventual fall in 476 AD and the eastern empire's destruction in 1453 (good runs considering).But it is perhaps his solution to the person behind the murder of Germanicus that is ultimately the most unsatisfactory aspect of this work.

That the succession issue was bothersome for Rome is no question.It lead to periodic outbreaks of Civil War and undermined political stability in the 200s.However it is probably an overstatement to conclude that had Germanicus and his eldest sons taken over from Tiberius that Rome would have been spared these complications.I have a hard time imagining that Germanicus as the third emperor could have engendered a situation, as Dando Collins claims, in which Roman ruins might have been found in Capetown and persons living in China might have learned Latin.This is an overstatement in the extreme.

Dando Collins makes extensive use of Dio, Tacitus, and Suetonius.While he tends to question the accuracy of both Suetonius and Dio in places (the did write 70 and 200 years after the events of the book), he gives Tacitus a pass. While Tacitus is an excellent writer and the leading historian of imperial Rome, he too has an agenda.Tacitus, in common with most members of the senatorial class, never met an emperor he really liked (Suetonius never heard of an affair by an emperor in which he did not believe, particularly if involved some extreme perversion).As a result the crimes of the emperors are overstated just as the failings of their victims are understated.Probably everyone was using a common play book in which murder, poisoning, slander, sexual entrapment were all considered fair game.Imperial opponents probably were no more moral than the emperors they sought to undermine.

That Germanicus was a good general is beyond dispute.He seems to have been genuinely popular and his death devastated the empire.However given the fact that his third son was Caligula and his grandson was Nero, I am more than suspicious of his status as paragon.While it is understandable that Caligula and Nero turned out the way that history records them as behaving, it probably would be less comprehensible if a product of the environment of palace intrigue, which Germanicus certainly was, would have been much better.Both Caligula and Nero both had really brilliant starts and then abruptly became erratic and tyrannical.What evidence do we have that it would have been any different for Germanicus?

I should say at the outset that I found Dando Collins' attempt to solve the mystery of who killed Germanicus to be the most disappointing aspect of the book and if anyone wishes to find out what this, he should halt reading here.Early on, Germanicus identifies five suspects, Tiberius, the emperor, Livia, the dowager empress, Piso a political rival, Plancenta, Piso's wife and Sejanus, a henchman of Tiberius, all of whom benefitted allegedly from the death of Germanicus.His solution in the last chapter is to accuse the philosopher Seneca and the wife of Germanicus, Agrippina (who previously had been portrayed as a proud, but innocent victim of Tiberius) as the likely culprits.This is nonsense.The only reason Dando Collins has for selecting Seneca is because of his later prominence.Most of the characterizations of the other figures seem to be informed by the novel by Robert Graves, "I, Claudius."

While accusing Seneca of murder is a stretch, Agrippina the elder is absurd. If anyone suffered more from the death of Germanicus, it would be her.Women in Rome derived their status from who they were married to. Her best chance of gaining the power that she craved was as the consort of Germanicus. An affair with Seneca, if learned of, would mean only disgrace and ruin. The idea that the proud granddaughter of Augustus Caesar would have taken up with an obscure Spaniard is bizarre (her daughter Julia was, as history records, not so picky).Really by making this charge Dando Collins not only is guilty of outdoing Suetonius in terms of sensation, but indulging the most absurd hyperbolic conclusions.Had the publishers of this book discarded the final chapters of the book and inserted a new conclusion, the work would have been far better in terms of quality and ultimately less disappointing.

3-0 out of 5 stars Questionable Details
I tore through this book in a matter of three days.It is well written and flows immediately into the capture of the reader.But I could not help but notice a few mistakes such as claiming Drusus the elder was the elder brother of Tiberius when in fact, Tiberius was Livia's firstborn son.Also, Julia did not die of old age, she was starved to death at Tiberius' hands the same year Augustus died (AD 14).I could clearly see where the author was going and, though he stood much to gain by being the mastermind, it (to me) is a far fetched idea.There were plenty of people who stood to gain by being the mastermind.Livilla, wife of Drusus the younger, had motive to be rid of her brother.She was jealous over Agrippina, had formerly been posed to become the next Empress of Rome when married to Gaius, and she was involved with Sejanus.I find that she would be a more eligible candidate to mastermind the murder and had the means.I did, however, find Dando-Collins' accomplice a real twist.I've often considered the same thing.What I like best about this book is the detail about each of the players.Kudos!

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic glimpse of the end of Caesar's family tree
I admit to being a Stephen Dando-Collins fan. This, his most recent effort, was spellbinding from start to finish. D-C takes us on a complete tour of the lives, and fates, of the descendents of Caesar. Caligula, Claudius, and Nero all figure prominently as the family vies to destroy each other. The map and family tree were very helpful in keeping the various Druses' and Aggripina's straight as author's theory on the killer of Germanicus began to gather steam. The suspects certainly include the emperor, Tiberius, himself. But don't forget Livilla, the dastardly Sejanus, and the unstable governor of Syria, Senator Piso.
The way the book is constructed is very clever as well. We open with the recent death of Germanius and proceed forward in time until the death of Nero, some 50 years later. While the theory may or may not be true, the reader is in for very good historical accuracy, clearly presented in a gripping and highly entertaining manner. Loads of fun for the Roman history lover, Three thumbs up! ... Read more

3. The Ides: Caesar's Murder and the War for Rome
by Stephen Dando-Collins
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2010-02-08)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$2.43
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0470425237
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Unraveling the many mysteries surrounding the murder of Julius Caesar

The assassination of Julius Caesar is one of the most notorious murders in history. Two thousand years after it occurred, many compelling questions remain about his death: Was Brutus the hero and Caesar the villain? Did Caesar bring death on himself by planning to make himself king of Rome? Was Mark Antony aware of the plot, and let it go forward? Who wrote Antony's script after Caesar's death? Using historical evidence to sort out these and other puzzling issues, historian and award-winning author Stephen Dando-Collins takes you to the world of ancient Rome and recaptures the drama of Caesar's demise and the chaotic aftermath as the vicious struggle for power between Antony and Octavian unfolded. For the first time, he shows how the religious festivals and customs of the day impacted on the way the assassination plot unfolded. He shows, too, how the murder was almost avoided at the last moment.

A compelling history that is packed with intrigue and written with the pacing of a first-rate mystery, The Ides will challenge what you think you know about Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars The Day Julius Caesar Died
Other reviewers have pointed out that the author throws down a gauntlet of sorts in the opening sentence of the introduction, claiming many previous historical accounts of Julius Caesar were inconsequential, presumably especially when compared to this account. On the other hand, it may be equally erroneous and offensive to dismiss Stephen Dando-Collins' account as wholly inaccurate and unworthy of attention. He has spent decades studying and writing about Roman legions, the Republic and the Caesarian empires. Surely he has acquired authority and perspective in the process.

I liked Dando-Collins' choice of presentation, point of view and writing style as he attempted to describe the assasination of Julius Caesar. It is a very engaging, readable discourse on the Ides of March, much like a Roman citizen might have conveyed the chain of events when relaying the story to a later visitor. It is an absorbing read that will keep you turning pages and at minimum should provide you with a grasp of the assassination, along with some of the dynamic personalities and political forces that contributed to the notorious event. For the most part, Dando-Collins refers to and compares classical sources, and generally he clearly identifies which version he believes most credible. So, it is unfair to characterize the book as unresearched. Reference notes are found throughout each chapter and indexed at the end of the book.

Serious scholars and historians would no doubt utilize their own reading of original sources but for the average person this is a very enjoyable account of Julius Caesar's last days.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE IDES
Stephen Dando Collins is in top form with THE IDES:
Caesar's Murder and the War for Rome.
A wonderful re-telling of the murder of Caesar and the end of the Roman Republic. The astonishingly detailed account is complemented by Stephen Dando Collins insightful analysis.

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterfully insightful, dynamic and engaging!
The Ides is a masterfully insightful, dynamic and engaging book that breathes new life into the people and places it covers. It is a captivating interjection into a conversation too long dominated by worn out academic reflections. Tom Tiballi, 'Philadelphia City Paper' literary review.

2-0 out of 5 stars If the paparazzi had covered Caesar's death, it might look like this
"Twaddle" is Stephen Dando-Collins's verdict on the vast body of modern scholarship concerning the life and times of Julius Caesar. This dismissive introduction is a misguided attempt to imbue his own examination of the subject, //The Ides//, with artificial authority, as well as to sidestep the observation that Caesar's assassination is ground already well-trodden. And better-trodden. Much better.

In this detailed account of the days surrounding Caesar's assassination, Dando-Collins adopts the gossipy tone of a tabloid, an amusingly awkward approach to events that occurred over 2,000 years ago. Dando-Collins is certainly knowledgeable on the classic texts; but he uses them indiscriminately, as if they were all objective eye-witness accounts, not men writing from different centuries, opinions, and sources. He also appears to care little about context. Sure, Caesar's death is fascinating in itself, but it was also immensely important: the climax of decades of internal strife, the fall of the republic and rise of the empire, and the start of a philosophical debate on how far citizens should go in defense of their government.

For those interested in ancient Rome, Dando-Collins has nothing new to offer, and those new to the subject should look elsewhere to satisfy their curiosity.

Reviewed by Ariel Berg

1-0 out of 5 stars A disappointing, badly researched book
I liked Dando Collins' books on the legions. They were informative and vivacious and for once they didn't paint the Romans as unfeeling killing machines.

'The Blood of the Caesars' had such a zany theory on Germanicus' murder to leave me speechless and endlessy amused. It was far beyond everything Agatha Christie could have hoped to pull on her readers. Also, utterly unbelievable. But very amusing.

So I hoped that 'The Ides of March' could top the previous book's zaniness. It doesn't. It's a rather boring account of Caesar's assassination, with no new insight.

Suddenly the author has taken a dislike for the Dictator after several books where he praised him, while the 'Liberators' are painted as nice, high principled people. They weren't, really. The idea that they weren't interested or corrupted or ambitious is laughable - and this includes the saintly Brutus, he of the hysterical wife. Everyone - included the hysterical wife - is strictly mono-dimensional: there's no sense that those people had a personal history before, let's say, a week before the murder.

A previous commenter has pointed out historical mistakes. I must add that there's evidence that the author is not familiar with Latin at all. What should a reader think when IIviri (duumviri, a magistracy of two) is written Ilviri? Or 'carmen' becomes 'carme'? Or 'depositio' becomes 'deposito'? What were the editors doing here?

In short it's a big disappointment. The book is not accurate, is not balanced, and isn't entertaining either. ... Read more

4. Mark Antony's Heroes: How the Third Gallica Legion Saved an Apostle and Created an Emperor
by Stephen Dando-Collins
Kindle Edition: 304 Pages (2006-11-03)
list price: US$9.56
Asin: B001Q3M7R4
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This fourth book in Dando-Collins’s definitive history of Rome’s legions tells the story of Rome’s 3rd Gallica Legion, which put Vespasian on the throne and saved the life of the Christian apostle Paul. Named for their leader, Mark Antony, these common Roman soldiers, through their gallantry on the battlefield, reshaped the Roman Empire and aided the spread of Christianity throughout Europe. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Vintage Dando-Collins
Witness Roman history against a landscape of facts, ancient imagery, personalities, passions, and human resolve, in Mark Antony's Heroes. It is vintage Dando-Collins, in that one feels immersed in the fascinating world of antiquity. You will discover the true drama of stories and passions that the schoolbooks dare not reveal. There is suspense, and intriguing looks at this most interesting empire and its famous 3rd Gallica Legion. Mark Antony's story is brought into a whole new light relative to the popular history, as is Paul the apostle's story, and the fiery passion of the Jewish people.Here too you will read about how the 3rd Gallica Legion brought both King Herod and Vespasian to the throne, among other worthy exploits. I highly recommend this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting insights into the intersection of the Gospels and Roman history
the author does a good job of bringing facts together to shape an interesting storyline that informs as well as sparks a curiosity to dig further into the history of the Roman Legions.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Legio III Gallica
Overall, Dando-Collin's biography of the Legio III Gallica is not a disappointment.With relative accuracy he traces the Legion's role in Roman history from its foundation (raised by Julius Caesar from Gauls in the 40's BC) to its decisive role in the Battle of Second Cremona, in which it helped to secure victory for Vespasian in the Roman Civil War.The book is fairly light reading and is well-written.

There are a few minor things I disagree with.One is that the author assumes this had to have been the Roman Legion that saved Saint Paul from an angry Jewish mob after his conversion to Christianity.He assumes this on the grounds that he believes it was the only legion stationed in Judaea at the time (and is thus either ignoring or simply not aware of the Legio X Fretensis - which was stationed in Jerusalem for most or all of the 1st and 2nd Centuries).He also claims that he believes that the Book of Acts would suggest that the Roman soldiers involved in Paul's rescue were legionaries, not auxiliaries, though he gives no evidence for why he believes this.It was the auxiliary regiments, however, that got the dirtier jobs that the Roman soldiers of the Bible are known for - quelling riots, executing criminals, and in general playing the role of our modern policemen and firemen.The Third Gallic Legion would have spent more time watching the Parthians and keeping pesky Arab raiders out of the province.

Another thing about this author's books in general that I do not appreciate is how he equates ranks in the Roman army to those in modern western armies (e.g. `general' in place of legate, and `colonel' in place of tribune).He also alternates between calling rank-and-file soldiers `legionaries' and `privates' though this doesn't irk me as much as both terms (legionarius and privatus) were used by the Romans.I personally feel that the language and culture of ancient peoples should not be disregarded to make reading about them more palatable for modern people - this will not educate but only bring about further ignorance.It is my opinion that he does our noble Roman predecessors a disservice by ignoring the proper titles of their military men.

Overall, though, this is a decent book and I am not going to harshly criticize it - I will simply warn you not to take all of the author's opinions as historical truth, and not to let his books be a primary source for you on the Roman Army.

3-0 out of 5 stars Fun Read, but Jarring Problems for Anyone with Knowledge of Roman History
This is the first book by Dando-Collins I have read, and I will not read another. It was apparently written for popular appeal, particularly with it's emphasis on how a legion saved Paul of Tarsus.That said, it was a pleasant read for an evening or two, depending upon one's reading speed.He fairly accurately depicts life in a legion and the events covered by his book.I would recommend it to someone who is not a scholar in Roman History.

The title is misleading in that the 3rd Gallica Legion was formed by Pompey in Gaul about 65 BCE, fought for Pompey against Caesar, surrendered to Caesar and was disbanded.The Legion was re-constituted by Caesar in 49 BCE (legionnaires served for 16 years) again with Gauls, fought at Munda for Caesar, and following Caesar's assassination, transferred its allegience to Mark Antony,It took part in Antony's invasion of Parthia in 36 BCE, was reconstituted again in 33 BCE with Syrian enlistees, then deserted Antony's cause for Octavian in 31 BCE. The enlistment periods were lengthened to 20 years, and by 58 CE, had been refilled with new enlistees four more times from Syria.This was when the events with Paul took place, and then after a further refilling, the Legion declared for Vespasian in 69 CE and materially aided him in achieving the throne by defeating Vitellius's troops.So why did the Author choose the emphasis on Mark Antony?One can only surmise it was due to Antony's name being familiar to the possible purchasers of the book.

The author's use of modern place name and modern terms for Roman ranks was really jarring.Calling Mucianus a Field-Marshal was really too much.A simple chart of ranks and their modern equivalents (if any) was all that was necessary.One could argue that a Legion was more akin to a modern Division (albeit much smaller) than a regiment, but such things are hardly important once the reader accepts the size, role and resources of the ancient formations.The author really stretched my credulity by using terms like lieutenant, captain, major, colonel, etc.Plus, he should know that there is no field-marshal rank in the American military.Also, using modern terms like "under fire" from arrows, javelins, slinger bolts, etc, misrepresent ancient reality.Treating modern readers like children who would be unable to understand any military terms other than those in use today (particularly when the reader is likely not to have served in the military) was insulting to say the least.

A final criticism was the author's naming convention.When he mentioned that joint emperors Balbinus and Maximus were killed by the Praetorian Guard (why not say Palace Guard?) in 238, I crossed out Maximus in my book and wrote "Pupienus."Unsure as to why the author said "Maximus", either the son of Maximinus Thrax, Caesar from 235-238, or Maximus Magnus, emperor from 383-388, I checked the full name of Pupienus.It was Marcus Clodius Pupienus Maximus, known to us as Pupienus.Calling Pupienus "Maximus" would be like calling Marcus Aurelius "Verus" since his full name was Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus.And, of course, his co-emperor was Lucius Verus, full name Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus.So my recommendation to the author is to stick to Roman terms and classical naming conventions.

The author's lists of sources was excellent, although I would have been somewhat more critical of Cassius Dio (Dio Cassius).As can be seen from the list, ancient sources are few and have to be supplemented with numismatic and archeological evidence.His modern bibliography was equally good, but for readers in the dark about Roman individuals of importance I would recommend Diana Browder's "Who Was Who In The Roman World."

5-0 out of 5 stars Living History
Stephen Dando-Collins writes very well, you get the history, facts I hadn't read before and real research without a million footnotes to distract from the tale. I have read his whole series on the legions. Excellent ... Read more

5. This Is Not the Life I Ordered: 50 Ways to Keep Your Head Above Water When Life Keeps Dragging You Down
by Deborah Collins Stephens, Michealene Cristini Risley, Jackie Speier, Jan Yanehiro
Paperback: 224 Pages (2009-04-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0044KN3TM
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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If you've ever felt overworked, overwhelmed, or just plain unlucky, this book is for you. Through this collection of stories, wisdom, and practical advice, readers will meet four ordinary women who have faced extraordinary life challenges. Together, they have a history of six marriages, ten children, four stepchildren, six dogs, two miscarriages, two cats, a failed adoption, widowhood, and foster parenthood. They have built companies, lost companies, and sold companies. One of them was shot and left for dead on a tarmac in South America, and two lived through the deaths of spouses. Raising babies and teenagers together, they have known celebrity and success along with loneliness and self-doubt. This book started simply with four friends getting together at the kitchen table to talk about their lives. Week by week and story by story, they realized their support of each other could help other women struggling with life's myriad issues of work, family, and love, as well as the big questions of life and death. For over a decade, the power and strength of their collective friendship has enabled these women to not only survive but to thrive. The remarkable results are in this collection of lessons and stories and wisdom, which can help any woman turn any misfortunate event into a joy-filled opportunity. This Is Not the Life I Ordered is the culmination of weekly "kitchen table coaching" sessions that took place for more than a decade and were designed to support one another through life's ups and downs.The women realized their support of each other could help other women struggling with life's myriad issues of work, family, and love, as well as the big questions of life and death. The power and strength of their collective friendship has enabled these women to not only survive but to thrive and the remarkable results are in this collection of lessons and stories and wisdom, which can help any woman turn any misfortunate event into a joy-filled opportunity. * Features practical "Wit Kit" tips - exercises and actions for readers to become their own life coach and start their own kitchen-table cabinets. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars Changed my life!
I know this sounds like an exageration, but it is not.I guess I was ready for the messages, and after reading this book, I feel less afraid to take some risks in my life, in order to move it forward and become more happy.This book will be re-read (isn't leaving my library, and I've recommended it to all of my friends) over and over.Thanks to the four authors who became transparent in order to write a great book with wonderful insights.

5-0 out of 5 stars Such fast shipping!
Great book for great price. Super fast shipping. I love that my purchase helps a cause.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Happy
I was going on vacation and needed a book real quick and didn't have time to go to the book store.I ordered "This is Not the Life I Ordered" (in paperback) and it arrived within two days ~ just on time to go on vacation the following day! I really didn't think it would arrive that soon with regular shipping and the book was great summertime reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent book
This is a great book, it definately gives you perspective on life.These women have had great challenges and have overcome them.They inspire you to keep going through the hard times.I bought this book for myself and thought I would pass it along to friends and family, but I decided this was one I wanted to back and read when I need some inspiration.Therefore I bought copies for several other people, because I am not willing to part with my own.Great book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great En-courager!
This book came to my attention just when I needed it!It validates the importance of having a closeknit group of women friends.Meeting on a regular basis, they cheer for each other, support each other in good times and bad, weep with each other, listen to each other, and give and receive support.The book gave new meaning to me of the word encourage.By en-couraging others, you are giving (and enabling) courage.Strength-giving and inspirational. ... Read more

6. Eye Contact
by Stephen Collins
 Paperback: 10 Pages (1995-05-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553572199
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Nicolette Stallings, a beautiful and independent actress, pursues her taste for daring sex despite its dangerous repercussions and finds her anticipated night-to-remember becoming an inescapable nightmare. Reprint. LJ. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Collins

Anything where Mr. Collins is involved it number one with me.End of discussion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Eye Contact
When attaching ones self to a celebrities persona, (i.e. actor) one tends to critique only the physical contributions. Stephen Collins is not just an actor. He is an intellectual literary artist capturing your interest from beginning to end in this book. The character, "Nicolette Stallings" embraces your fantasies and simultaneously engages you in a plethera of empathy. Her erotic behavior is stimulating, believable, and before long, desirable to any red blooded American woman. Stephen Collins? A Minister?
(Eric Camden) not in this book.............he's too delicious for words.

4-0 out of 5 stars Eye Contact
I actually read `Eye Contact' a few years ago.It was the first erotic thriller that I'd ever read and it still stands out in my mind as on of the best.

This is the story of actress Nicolette Stallings who only feels powerful when seducing someone of the opposite sex.However, her sexual game of cat and mouse soon turns deadly when she propositions a man she meets in a restaurant who she playfully dubs as "Wally Wall Street".After their one night encounter at a high class hotel Nick finds it hard to get rid of "Wally" who now blames her for the break up of his marriage.After an unsuccessful attempt on his own life "Wally" otherwise known as Jeffery White, finally does succeed in killing himself but not before he manages to frame Nick for his murder!As Nick becomes the center of the medias attention and hunted by the police she tries to find a way to prove her innocence not without having a few sexual encounters along the way.

`Eye Contact" is an excellent erotic thriller not for the timid and will keep you at the edge of your seat trying to figure out how everything will play out in the end.Who would have though that the minister for 7th Heaven could write like this?

4-0 out of 5 stars Eye Contact
I actually read 'Eye Contact' a few years ago. It was the first erotic thriller that I'd ever read and it still stands out in my mind as one of the best.

This is the story of actress Nicolette Stallings who only feels powerful when seducing someone of the opposite sex. The sexual game of cat and mouse soon turns deadly when she propositions a man she meets in a restaurant who she playfully dubs as "Wally Wall Street". After their one night encounter at a high class hotel Nick finds it hard to get rid of "Wally" who now blames her for the break up of his marriage. After an unsuccessful attempt on his own life "Wally" otherwise known as Jeffery White, finally does succeed in killing himself but not before he manages to frame Nick for his murder! As Nick becomes the center of the medias attention and hunted by the police she tries to find a way to prove her innocence not without having a few sexual encounters along the way.

'Eye Contact" is an excellent erotic thriller not for the timid and will keep you at the edge of your seat trying to figure out how everything will play out in the end. Who would have though that the minister from 7th Heaven could write like this?

5-0 out of 5 stars Stands the test of time
This novel really does stand the test of time. I read this book many years ago and it still sets well in my memory to this day. It has just about everything in it that one can imagine. Reading this novel is quick and doesn't drag on and on like some novels that I've completed. The long of the short of it, "If this book stands out in my mind today, even though it has been many years since I've read it, then it has to be good reading."

If you don't believe me - buy it and read it yourself. ... Read more

7. Double Exposure
by Stephen Collins
Mass Market Paperback: 320 Pages (1999-06-01)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$40.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380732327
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Television critic Hoe McBride's personal life has crumbled overnight into ruin.Now, through the kitchen window of his darkened apartment, he sees a beautiful, enticing stranger in a neighboring apartment--caught in a provocative pose.And she is watching him back.Hoe is drawn into her world, and becomes a lead player in a deadly ddrama that threatens to devastate his future. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sexy....
Loved it. Wish he wrote more then this one and an other book. Very good author.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exciting!
Thrilling and alluring! There is a new twist with every turn of the page.This book is even better than his last one!I can't wait for his next book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as 'Eye Contact'
After reading Stephen Collins' 'Eye Contact', which I thought was fabulous, I was so excited when I finally got my hands on 'Double Exposure'.I enjoyed the book until the last 1/3, when I decided the plotwas getting a bit unrealistic and silly. I also felt like Mr. Collins speedwrote the ending just to get the manuscript off to the printer!

4-0 out of 5 stars Great But It needs alittle work
I thought that the book was a good thing to read. Although there are things in this bok that are not that great.

I would read it again though.

4-0 out of 5 stars Page turner.
I thought I might be bias to give this book a good review because I enjoy Stephen Collins as an actor but I must give it a good review based on the story itself. This was truly a fast paced, sexy, suspensful read that keptme turning the pages. The character of Joe McBride is realistic and flawedbut not an idiot which makes his actions in the story plausible. Arecommended read. ... Read more

8. Nero's Killing Machine
by Dando-Collins Stephen
 Hardcover: Pages (2005)

Asin: B001DKR5EU
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9. The Inquest
by Stephen Dando-Collins
Hardcover: 384 Pages (2005-02-22)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$1.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1416504419
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In the time of Vespasian, just after Rome has crushed the Jewish Revolt, Julius Varro,a Roman Questor(an investigating magistrate )is commissioned to investigate the story that a Jew rose from the dead after being crucified in Jerusalem.Because the fast-growing Nazarene sect founded by the martyr's followers is becoming a threat to the stability of the region, there is much riding on debunking the story.Questor Varro has to deal with the evidence that goes back forty years, with most witnesses long dead and the living ones lying to protect themselves.But he is intent on producing a report that will demolish the claims of these religious fanatics.His investigation stirs intrigue, religious passion, and violence, to say nothing of an attraction to a beautiful Jewish slave girl.Questor Varro's report methodically destroys the myth fueling the newborn Christian movment.But then an extraordinary event occurs that changes everything¨ ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good story
The first couple of chapters didn't hold my attention and I skipped through them but I'm glad I continued to read.I enjoyed how the story came together and it was a believable view of how the Romans struggled with the concept of Christianity and how they may have conducted their investigations. Many would probably be uncomfortable with a story trying to discount the life of Jesus but that is part of Roman History. The author does a great job in putting together a likely version of how it may have happened. The surprise ending was a good touch.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Idea, slow plot
I found the idea of an inquest into Jesus's death intriguing and that is why I purchased the book.The general plot is good, but the book moves very slowly and has a number of adult situations written in that do not seem to have anything to do with the overall plot of the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book, not a perfect one
Stephen Dando-Collins has written a great historical portrait, as if he experienced himself what he describes. The main and secondary characters are all greatly conceived and developed, as well as the plot and the scenarios.
In the end, the conclusion of the book is not as bright. But the fact is that the "historical Jesus" is quite controversial, so the author tried to leave the conclusion open. He built a rational and page-turner plot to the end, then an ambiguous event happens.
It is much, much better than the Da Vinci Code. And, in the end, the enigma called "Jesus Christ" remains as untouchable as before.
In "The Inquest", Jesus was revealed as a special man (maybe unique) with an unresistable message, but surrounded since the beginning by all too human disciples. His last days, as narrated by Dando-Collins, reflect the ambiguities of all Christian churches and of our human condition.

3-0 out of 5 stars A great novel, great story.It's unfortunate I have to give it 3 stars
The Inquest is a great story about a Quaestor (due to the author being australian, he incorrectly spells this, and all other Latin words with AE in them as "Questor" "Pretor" etc.) in Judea after the Jewish revolt in 71 AD, who is given an assignment by his superior to investigate claims of a prophet from Nazareth executed forty years prior having risen from the dead.

The cast of characters is wonderfully rich, from the highly likeable yet boastful proud Marcus Metellus Martius, to the thoroughly unlikeable yet perfectly logical Jewish turncoat Antiochus, the loyal slaves and freedmen, and the mysterious, wistful Nazarene woman Miriam.

The novel perfectly translates to good movie material, which plenty of mystery, intrigue, suspense, and bloody action to keep the simpler minds occupied.

While going back and forth from place to place in search of more information for his case, the Quaestor in the story (Julius Terentius Varro) is somewhat underdeveloped, but not in such a way as to make him distant from the rest of the story.He fits in well, but sometimes there are times when you can't predict his behavior because he hasn't been explored too deeply.

Now come the problems... The novel is brilliantly written, but there are some points where the story seems incomprehensibly detached from its purpose.Some plot turns appear to happen too suddenly, or not suddenly enough, and you're left wondering why these people are wasting time somewhere rather than investigating the mystery.

The ending in particular left me a bit disatisfied, as I had read ahead as I usually do, and apparently misinterpreted it.It also doesn't seem to resolve whether the final result of the investigation was fradulent or not, but rather leaving it up to the reader to decide if Varro was lied to or not.

What brings the book down at least half a star is the numerous grammatical errors in the text.Leaving aside the Britannic spelling for such words as Quaestor (Questor), Praetor (Pretor), Praetorium (Pretorium), there are numerous occurences of double periods in places where there should only be one.Words in sentences are missing, making a piece of dialogue sound incoherent, or stupid (like "I say to you, what did see?").Letters are misplaced (a character named Pompeius at one point is called Pompieus).These sort of errors range from very faint, to those which should have easily been spotted by a competent editor.

All in all, this is a great novel, despite the dissonance in plot in some points, and the lackluster ending.A fixed up ending could translate this into a fine novel, and an easy story to translate to film, even by Hollywood's (low) standards.

4-0 out of 5 stars Ancient Roman Mystery and the Death of Jesus
This is a good book, I have read two of his Legion book series, and this was just has easy to read and just has informaative. This book can be unsettling to some people who don't like to have the life and death of Jesus questioned, but if one is interested in the time period and want to get a POV of what it might have been like during that period and to have an understanding of what Roman military life might have been like and then this is a good book to read.
There will be some who will get bent out of shape because this book isn't 100% in unison with the bible, but he doesn't go as far as the Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons by Brown. But Dando-Collins does raise questions as if a Roman might, with their mindset and view of life and how foriegn the Nazarene's beleifs are in comparison to the Roman Religious life. So the Roman POV is very sceptical to the One God view of the Christians, whereas the Romans have a multiple beleif in different Gods, I appreciated this, because it created a tension in the book.
Characters are written very well, some are two sided, but the main characters are 3-D, the background and the history is the main character of the book, because it is peeled away through out the book, the one thing that is in flux.
This is a recommend book for those that like Historical Fiction of an inquestive nature. Another good book is The Tribune: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Patrick Larkin.
... Read more

10. Conflict Sociology: A Sociological Classic Updated (Studies in Comparative Social Science)
by Randall Collins
Paperback: 368 Pages (2010-04-30)
list price: US$36.95 -- used & new: US$32.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594516014
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Conflict Sociology, first published in 1975, represented the most powerful and comprehensive statement of conflict theory of its time. Collins brought together the best features of the Marxian and Weberian conflict traditions and connected them to microsociological principles derived from the Durkheimian tradition and Erving Goffman. This new edition is a substantial update and abridgement of the original book. Sanderson has retained the core chapters on stratification; deference and demeanor; state, economy, and ideology; and wealth and social mobility. Each chapter has been updated by discussing new work produced both by Collins and other key scholars of conflict theory. Sanderson's substantive afterword takes up Collins's work since 1975 on educational systems, intellectual life, organizations, historical change, gender and family, and religion. The afterword also summarizes Collins's latest forays into microsociological theorizing and attempts to show how Collins's newer microsociology and his older macrosociology are connected. ... Read more

11. Cleopatra's Kidnappers: How Caesars Sixth Legion Gave Egypt to Rome and Rome to Caesar
by Stephen Dando-Collins
Kindle Edition: 304 Pages (2005-10-28)
list price: US$24.95
Asin: B000VUP9VO
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A powerful tale of war, romance, and one of history's most desperate gambles

Julius Caesar was nothing if not bold. When, in the wake of his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus his victorious legions refused to march another step under his command, he pursued his fleeing rival into Egypt with an impossibly small force of Gallic and German cavalry, raw Italian recruits, and nine hundred Spanish prisoners of war-tough veterans of Pompey's Sixth Legion.

Cleopatra's Kidnappers tells the epic saga of Caesar's adventures in Egypt through the eyes of these captured, but never defeated, legionaries. In this third volume in his definitive history of the Roman legions, Stephen Dando-Collins reveals how this tiny band of fierce warriors led Caesar's little army to great victories against impossible odds. Bristling with action and packed with insights and newly revealed facts, this eye-opening account introduces you to the extraordinary men who made possible Caesar's famous boast, "I came, I saw, I conquered." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars History That Reads Like a Novel.

This book is an excellent read.The author, Stephen Dando-Collins does a fine job of describing the 6th Ferrata Legion and Caesar's activities in Egypt.Although this is non-fiction, it reads like an adventure novel.

The 6th Legion was split in half at the Battle of Pharsalus.Half the men escaped with the Republican forces and eventually evolved into the 6th Victrix Legion.The 6th Ferrata, however, started out as those 6th Legion cohorts that surrendered to Mark Antony.They switched sides to Caesar after he spared their lives.History describes Caesar's time in Egypt as a "dalliance." Dando-Collins describes this dalliance as nothing short of a life and death struggle against the Egyptians.

The final chapters of the book provide a condensed history of the years following the civil war; the most significant event being Caesar's assassination.The author also covers the battles of Actium, Thapsus, and Munda.These engagements are only given a cursory description as they did not include the 6th Ferrata Legion.The author, however, occasionally references the 6th Victrix Legion.

The book is well researched and draws on many primary and secondary sources.That said, the author skips over recent research surrounding Cleopatra's demise.He describes her death as a suicide even though many historians now think she was assassinated on the orders of Augustus / Octavian.

Bottom line:this is an enjoyable and well written history of Caesar's time in Egypt. The author effectively describes all major events such as the sea battles, street battles, and the kidnapping of Cleopatra.In the end, the reader will gain a clear understanding of the events that made Egypt a province of Rome.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Achievement
Stephen Dando-Collins weaves together a history of the 6th Ferrata Legion and Julius Caesar that reads as if it is a fascinating and suspenseful novel. Here you will find a view of the Roman World and the people who lived it, that will open your eyes to a largely hidden history that is much more intriguing than traditional accounts. It is a history that one can relate to from modern times, with its passions and political intrigue. Cleopatra's Kidnappers is one of the best volumes of Dando-Collins' four part saga of Rome's famous legions.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hmmm..Fairly Enjoyable, but...
Well, overall, the book was enjoyable. Dando-Collins definitely knows his history, and made it seem more like an adventure story than a dry history text. Still, I found it hard to get through a lot of the time. Mr. Collins sometimes goes off on ridiculous tangents that really have nothing to do with the story, and really don't need to be explained. I often got lost while in the middle of some random general's story, and then was thrown back into the real plot with an, "Okay, what just happened?" The author could have made the book shorter and more enjoyable without explaining odd tidbits that didn't need to be explained. I also thought the ending came a littletoo late. HE could have ended the story about 5 chapters earlier than he did, and have it make perfect sense and have a satisfying ending. Instead, he recounted the tale of a few extra, completely random battles. These didn't even have the original 6th Legion in them! These were the battles of completely new recruits and were unnecessary to the central plot. Anyway, maybe I'm just not understanding it fully. I read this for my World History Honors Class, so maybe I just can't appreciate it fully. I'm more of a fantasy kind of girl anyway.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good history read in spite of gimmicky title and premise
I admit that I bought Cleopatra's Kidnappers: How Caesar's Sixth Legion Gave Egypt to Rome and Rome to Caesar because of the cleverly chosen title.Having read it now though, I feel it would've been better served by a more straightforward title - and premise - that would've made it a slightly shorter book but allowed it a more focused scope and a tidier ending. As it was it went on somewhat longer than it should have, far beyond the central events which make up the best part of the book. For me, Dando-Collins tries too hard to make it a history of the Sixth Legion and of their role in Cleopatra's kidnapping (which in itself is a sensationalization of events to allow the book a gimmicky title - it was more an act of protective custody than anything else). The actual kidnapping as such is only a single fourteen-page chapter. And in trying to make it a history of the sixth legion, the book extends past the conclusion of the events of real interest and past the deaths of all involved into what should have been no more than a footnote detailing what happened to the Sixth Legion in the three centuries afterwards. It would have been a better book if it had concluded with the end of the civil wars and of all the principal figures who were a part of them.

That said, however, I found Cleopatra's Kidnappers a highly readable and enjoyable history of a very interesting - and important - episode in Roman history. The inside jacket describes it quite well:

"Cleopatra's Kidnappers tells the gripping true story of the momentous events of 48-47 BC, during which, according to most history books, Caesar 'dallied in Egypt.' What those books don't mention is that his 'dalliance' was a bitter seven-month life-or-death struggle; that Caesar was opposed by a well-equipped and determined Egyptian army that had just murdered Pompey and was now after him and that without the Sixth Legion, Caesar never would have made it out of Egypt alive."

Dando-Collins does good history. His style is smooth and highly readable, he's done his research well, and he manages to to lay out the chronology of events in such a way that the reader can follow Caesar - and the Sixth Legion - through all of their movements and actions in the empire in an as-it-happens style during the period under examination.I liked the fact that Dando-Collins was very scrupulous in sticking to the known facts (with his various sources cited), not putting words in the mouths of his historical figures that weren't actual quotations. When something is not known, he simply says that it is not known. When he engages in conjecture, it is always made clear and is based on his intimate familiarity with the customs and procedures of the times:

"Many historians have assumed that from that first night, Cleopatra made herself at home there at Caesar's guesthouse, within the royal compound south of the Canopic Way. Later outcomes point to a different turn of events. After ordering a strong guard to be provided for Cleopatra, it seems that in the early hours of the morning Caesar sent her across the Canopic Way to take up residence one more in the wing of the palace that had been her home prior to her ejection by Ptolemy's people. As she settled into her old quarters, a guard of Roman troops took up positions outside, with orders to let no one make contact with her without Caesar's permission. Almost certainly, Caesar chose the 6th Legion to provide Cleopatra's guard. The youths of the 28th Legion were too callow and unworldly for such a delicate task. The German troopers of Caesar's bodyguard were too coarse; besides, they weren't Roman citizens, so to place them over Cleopatra would have been a rank insult to the young queen. The tough, no-nonsense veterans of the 6th would have been the ideal men for the job."

I found the book highly informative, changing the way I viewed these events and this period. As brilliant and lucky a general as he was, Caesar did come perilously close to disaster on a number of occasions, any one of which could have changed history dramatically. As could have the deaths of seemingly minor characters at the time whose descendants were destined to play major roles in subsequent Roman history. The various key battles were laid out in extremely clear fashion, allowing the reader to follow the ebb and flow of the action with ease. And the details Dando-Collins brings out, in everything from how legions were organized and how they served to what triumphs consisted of and what actions did or did not merit a triumph, did much to bring the reality of that ancient time to brilliant life in the book. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very good work of non fiction that flows like a novel
This was my first Dando-Collins book and I must say I was quite impressed. A great fiction author like Margaret George "Memoirs of Cleopatra" can make subject matter like Caesar, Mark Antony and Cleopatra and all that is the Roman Empire flow like silk, becoming irresistable to put down for readers fixated with such material. Harder though for a non fiction work to do the same. Yet I found myself drawn to this work from chapter 1 and could hardly put it down as the pages flowed.

Its a splendidly researched book that doesnt pretend to be a Cambridge History of the Times or the like. Its simply an easy to read, thought provoking fact filled and informative publication quintessentially about the 6th Legion (raised in Spain) and its contribution to the Gallic campaign, Civil War through its allegiance first to Pompey and then as an integral part of Caesars progress to claiming leadership of Rome via the pivotal events that occurred in Egypt. These were the days when he was neither guaranteed to become ruler of Rome and nor was a very young Cleopatra - encamped in Palestine - seeking to regain her place on the Egyptian throne - guaranteed to be ruler of Egypt over the badly advised and cynically cruel brother Ptolemy XIII.

The famous and the infamous men and women of the times, and their lives are richly detailed in quick succession as well as their influence or role in the events going on upon the times in which the book is based. Its a veritable who's who. And not all are so well known that the author cant surprise. Caesars promotion following his victory at Pharsalus of a young tribune called Tiberius Claudius Nero, rejected by Cicero for betrothal to his daughter but eventually to marry Livia on her way to ultimately marrying Augustus. That pre Augustan union produced Tiberius (2nd Emperor or Rome) while son Drusus marrying a daughter of Mark Antony would lead to Claudius (4th Emperor of Rome) ---> not bad work by Tiberius Claudius Nero who couldnt have known his true influence as he organised the stacking of cavalry horses and provisions on one of Caesars barges bound for Egypt. This is the sort of thing the book is great at uncovering. And why its so absorbing. If only Cicero had said "yes" then there would not have been a Nero (Livia's great great grandson). The irony of Cicero - who forsaw in the destruction of the Republic the future reign of unaccountable tyrants - indirectly causing the reign of the ulimate tyrant in Nero is truly a gem.

More than this there are moments where the description is very ethereal. Like the description at the start of the chapter "Egyptian Resistance" of the scene and surroundings as Caesars warships slip into the Alexandrian harbour at night as the famous Lighthouse glows away - with troops on deck not sure of what reception awaits but prepared for all and sundry to come at them anyway. Its quite awe inspiring the way its all painted in words.

And oh poor Caesar...think you have trouble balancing your bank account...just read and you will realise that the great man had to be as much a great banker as a statesman and leader of fighting men. There were times he had to call on the overdraft, negotiate with the creditors, manipulate the self interest of others to donate money to the cause, flog his enemies to get it or call in his own loans just to keep the campaign from collapsing around him. Amazing stuff.

THe bad? Well it wont please research purists. The prose is a mix of easy flowing fiction writers style with non fiction material. But to my mind it just takes the dryness out of learning. Then there is that annoying Dando-Collins trademark of modernising the place names, instead of just giving the original name and placing its modern equivalent in parentheses. And if you like me - love the terms Tribune, Legate, Consul, Praetor etc etc rather than lietenant general, major general, etc being substituted (which to my mind makes things more confusing than helpful) then it can be distracting. If only the author stuck to the ranks and postions as they were known at the time and listed at the beginning a chart of comparison then so much more would have been the joy of reading this work.

But all-in-all a very impressive and enjoyable read about a great Roman Legion fighting in perhaps the most fascinating time in Ancient Romes past.

I originally posted this review with a 4 star rating but after reading it again I couldnt help but to delete that review and give it 5 given it is such an entertaining and informative read. ... Read more

12. Beautiful Dreamer: The Life of Stephen Collins Foster
by Ellen Hunter Ulken
Paperback: 108 Pages (2005-03-16)
list price: US$10.00 -- used & new: US$6.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1413467369
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
While East Coast composers of the mid-1800s continued to imitate the music of their European forebears, Pittsburgh native Stephen Foster infused his compositions with the rich and diverse flavors of river life. By mixing this "western" essence with the style of traditional English folk songs, he created an original American sound. "Oh! Susannah," his first hit, became the banner song of forty-niners during the California gold rush. "Old Kentucky Home," "Old Folks at Home," "Camptown Races" and "Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair" are still sung a century and a half later. But despite the popularity of his music, the pioneer of American songwriting died in poverty. Beautiful Dreamer is his story. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Dreamer: The Life of Stephen Collins Foster
Beautiful Dreamer: The Life of Stephen Collins Foster, written by Ellen Hunter Ulken, is a well-written account of Lawrenceville's most popular native son.The chapters flow as gently and gracefully as the Swanee River.The author is so tuned into Foster's life and character that she even names the chapters after Stephen's songs.the book is written in a style that a teenager could understand it and an adult enjoy it.

The chapters are nicely flavored with the lyrics of some of Foster's songs.Although the text ends on page 76, the book continues with a two-page chronology of Foster's life.A listing of all his songs and the year in which they were published, a handy glossary, a bibliography listing 17 sources, a very extensive index, and a map brings the total number of pages to 105.The index makes this excellent book easy to use as a reference tool.

So Open Thy Lattice Love, curl up with Old Dog Tray, and read your very own copy of Beautiful Dreamer: The Life of Stephen Collins Foster.

This review is by Jude Wudarczyk and is taken from the Lawrenceville Historical Society website. [...] ... Read more

13. Mark Antony's Heroes
by Stephen Dando-Collins
Hardcover: Pages (2006-11-03)

Asin: B001E3AYXU
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14. Stephen Collins Foster: Sixty Favorite Songs (Bill's Music Shelf)
Paperback: 180 Pages (2009-04-29)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$14.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786681489
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Sixty of American composer Stephen Collins Foster?s (1826-1864) best-loved songs in the composer?s original piano arrangements with added guitar chords. The texts have been revised to capture the spirit Foster intended, eliminating obsolete or objectionable lyrics. A detailed introduction by musicologist Steven Saunders describes both Foster?s biography and the traditions surrounding nineteenth-century popular songs. Well-known Foster songs like ?Camptown Races,? ?Oh Susanna,? and ?Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair? are included, along with a number of pieces that have been popularized by contemporary recordings such as ?Slumber My Darling? and ?Hard Times Come Again No More.? Songs never before included in published collections, like ?The Voice of By Gone Days,? ?Turn Not Away,? and ?Willie We Have Missed You,? provide singers the opportunity to become familiar with new titles. The collection demonstrates Foster?s range as a writer of parlor songs, comedic ballads, Civil War tunes, and religious hymns. ... Read more

15. Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome
by Stephen Dando-Collins
Kindle Edition: 336 Pages (2002-02-05)
list price: US$15.95
Asin: B000YIY64Y
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
PRAISE FOR Caesar’s Legion

"A unique and splendidly researched story, following the trials and triumphs of Julius Caesar’s Legio X–arguably the most famous legion of its day–from its activation to the slogging battle of Munda and from Thapsus, Caesar’s tactical masterpiece, to the grim siege of the Jewish fortress of Masada. More than a mere unit account, it incorporates the history of Rome and the Roman army at the height of their power and gory glory.Many military historians consider Caesar’s legions the world’s most efficient infantry before the arrival of gunpowder. This book shows why. Written in readable, popular style, Caesar’s Legion is a must for military buffs andanyone interested in Roman history at a critical point in European civilization."
–T. R. Fehrenbach, author of This Kind ofWar, Lone Star, and Comanches ... Read more

Customer Reviews (56)

1-0 out of 5 stars Unhelpful, distracting font on Kindle
I don't know why this book is different than every other Kindle book I have purchased. The font is very odd, with the "d"s and some other letters exhibiting an open loop. It makes it annoying to read. Not sure why this doesn't have the standard Kindle font, or the ability to choose (the typeface options are all grayed out). . I would not knowingly purchase a book that had this font.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great FICTION.
Very well written, enjoyable FICTION.
But leave no doubt it is fiction.
The author has done a great deal of research that, together with a fluent writing style, makes for a very good read. But, for every historical fact he describes are many pages of imaginative storytelling.
Most conspicuously, he identifies Caesar's Legio X Equestris with Legio X Fretensis of the Principiate. Legio X Equestris was actually the Imperial Legio X Gemina (X Fretensis was another Tenth Legion formed by Octavian after Caesar's death -- not the same legion at all). Dando does this simply so he can place his subject in the Holy Land in the 1st century, and include tales from the early Christian tradition.
He also takes names of individuals, mentioned by Caesar or other writers, or in inscriptions, and constructs detailed stories about them.
enough of the negatives. This is very creditable, atmospheric historical fiction. And deserves to be read as such. But to portray it as history is both inaccurate and dishonest.

4-0 out of 5 stars In depth look at Legio X
Stephen Dando-Collins had originally intended to do a (very long) history of each of the major legions in one volume; his publisher suggested the much more sane approach of breaking them down by legion.While some of the information would be repetitive from book to book, this incremental approach makes the subject more manageable.

Accordingly, we have information common to all legions recruited from Pompey's day onwards, including size and formation, training, weaponry and how and when it was upgraded; leadership and recruitment, from incentives through land distribution and potentially reserve call-up.Appendixes list the various legions by number, recruitment dates, and where there is confusion over names and numbers - as there would be over a period of 500 years - he does his best to sort it out.Legions were raised, combined, destroyed, reconstituted; rival claimants to the purple would have similarly numbered legions fighting one another, and so on.Dando-Collins does an outstanding job in his research, and makes what seem to this reader to be reasonable assumptions where the records are unclear.

Regarding the Tenth, he follows the Legion from its raising in Spain by Caesar in 61 BC essentially through the Civil Wars and up to Titus campaign in taking Jerusalem and Masada.After that, as the remains of the Tenth become essentially limitanei on the Syrian front, the story is quickly abbreviated and wrapped up.The campaigns are clearly described, the battles carefully recorded and one feels one has understood at least the basics of what went on in this massive struggles.This is thoroughly enjoyable reading.

If there is a downside, it is where the author tries to cover conversations or what people thought.There is a lot of "he would have thought this," "he would have said that," a formulation this reviewer finds awkward, with insufficient support for their statements.But we are talking about events from hour to hour, described two thousand years after the fact.The alternative is simply to draw straight from the historical sources, and these do not often touch on the more mundane aspects of life in the Legions.

Dando-Collins has gone on to cover additional legions' careers.His approach in general is unusual and a great addition to our knowledge of these fascinating units.

4-0 out of 5 stars Legio X
Stephen Dando-Collins's "Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome" is an engrossing and in-depth history of the Roman Army, told mostly through the eyes of the famous Tenth Legion (Legio X).

The first half of the book gives an excellent account of Caesar's Army during the Gallic campaign and the civil war against Pompey.Dando-Collins not only describes the military movements and the battles, he personifies the legion by describing the daily life of the legionnaires and explaining why they were so effective.However, the last half of the book trails off as Dando-Collins continues to tell the story of the Tenth Legion into the Imperial era, all the way to the fall of Masada.This part lacks the detail and interest of the first part.

This is a solid and engaging book that anyone interested in military history would enjoy.

3-0 out of 5 stars I'm not so sure about the research behind this book.
I've seen a few reviews praising the research that was put into this book. I'd take them with a grain of salt. The legion that was with Caesar in Gaul was disbanded, to be reconstituted as Legio X Gemina. The Legion that fought at Jerusalem and Masada was Legio X Fretensis. Legio X Gemina was stationed in Germania during the Jewish revolt that was chronicled by Josephus. ... Read more

16. Stephen Collins Foster: A Biography of America's Folk-Song Composer [1920 ]
by Harold Vincent Milligan
Paperback: 158 Pages (2009-09-22)
list price: US$18.99 -- used & new: US$18.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1112438327
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Product Description
Originally published in 1920.This volume from the Cornell University Library's print collections was scanned on an APT BookScan and converted to JPG 2000 format by Kirtas Technologies.All titles scanned cover to cover and pages may include marks notations and other marginalia present in the original volume. ... Read more

17. Stephen Foster;: Or, Weep no more my lady : a biographical play on the life of Stephen Collins Foster, father of American folk songs
by Earl Hobson Smith
 Hardcover: 67 Pages (1935)

Asin: B00086AW2W
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18. Stephen Collins Foster: A Biography Of America's Folk-Song Composer (1920)
by Harold Vincent Milligan
 Paperback: 144 Pages (2010-09-10)
list price: US$16.76 -- used & new: US$16.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1163964352
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This scarce antiquarian book is a selection from Kessinger Publishing's Legacy Reprint Series. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment to protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature. Kessinger Publishing is the place to find hundreds of thousands of rare and hard-to-find books with something of interest for everyone! ... Read more

19. Foster Hall: A reminder of the life and work of Stephen Collins Foster : 1826-1864
by Josiah K Lilly
 Paperback: Pages (1934)

Asin: B0008A8888
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20. Stephen Collins Foster: July 4, 1826-January 13, 1864 : song writer
by George A Zabriskie
Hardcover: Pages (1941)

Asin: B0007E98WK
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