Saturday, February 19, 2011

History 111 Book: The Spartacus War

Proving once again that students prefer classical over medieval history, for the final book of the winter quarter my class picked The Spartacus War by Barry Strauss. The book deals with the Spartacus slave revolt of 73-71 BCE. It has much of what I like for a basic level history book. It is short, easy to read, but offers a glimpse into some of the wider complexities of the historical method. All of this while avoiding polemics. Strauss is particularly to be recommended in that he is taking a politically loaded issue such as a slave rebellion and avoids taking sides. Unlike the Kirk Douglas movie, this not about noble freedom fighters fighting for liberty against tyrannical Rome. Despite the generally negative role the Romans play in Jewish history, I admire them too much to simply dismiss them as villains.      

6 comments:

Chris said...

I wonder if your students' selection had anything to do with the currently-running Starz series, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand"?

Izgad said...

Quite a few have seen the TV show. I will be taking the opportunity, though, to introduce them to the Kirk Douglas classic, something very different.

Greg said...

I wonder why you call it the "Kirk Douglas classic" and not the "Stanley Kubrick classic".

Izgad said...

Because it was Kirk Douglas' movie and Kubrick later denounced it.

Clarissa said...

"too much" instead of "to much."

Izgad said...

Got it. Thanks.