“Here is a man whose life and actions the world has already condemned – yet whose enormous fortune…has already brought him acquittal!” – Cicero.
For me, this is a difficult book to review from a more objective perspective. This is because it was compulsory for me to read for my A levels in order to assist me in my exam which I recently took. As a matter of fact, due to my exams I haven’t had time for much reading other than course books (approximately half of my most recent reviews for books I had read a few weeks previously).
Due to my reading of this book being for educational purposes, it has made me dislike the book more than I think I originally would have to an extent. The book supported my studies and gave me additional information to develop my understanding; however, it also told me a lot that my teacher had told me, therefore making it a little boring for myself. Then again, I do not think I would have enjoyed this book without any background information either. Nevertheless, this is an interesting read on the life of Cicero.
The book highlights important moments in Cicero’s life including major cases and speeches he has given and many people he had corresponded with during his time. As a result of this you learn a lot about the man who has been such a big influence on the world today.
While Cicero’s writing is brilliant, and I’m sure to hear his oratory would be extraordinary, I did not enjoy this book very much. Or perhaps I should be saying, for the most part, Tiro’s writing? Regardless, as talented as Cicero was, I didn’t find this particularly interesting to read and it never captured my interest very much. I may just be too used to reading fictional books, but if that’s the case it shows that this is not the kind of book for me. Either way, I do recognise good writing when I see it.
One thing this book does is emphasise the injustice in the world for those who have more money than others. This is something that hasn’t changed. As a result of this it reinforces the class inequality which still exists. As serious as this book is though, there is a lighter side to it. For example, the Philippics against Mark Antony could be regarded as slightly amusing, especially when Cicero criticises him for not enjoying his poetry of all things. I am gutted that part didn’t come up in my exam as I definitely would have remembered that.
I would recommend this book to any one who is a fan or has an interest in history and famous figures. Cicero has always been well known for his oratory and philosophy as well as his writing so if you have an interest in a single one of those topics then this book may be worth a read.
Personally, I would rate this book a 3/5 because although I didn’t enjoy it very much, the writing was still very good.