Allan Massie

Walking with Ghosts

Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town

By

Profile Books 360pp £25 order from our bookshop

As I write, the damage and death-toll of the latest earthquakes in China are being assessed, and the inhabitants of New Orleans are returning to the city from which they fled a few days ago, happy (one assumes) that Hurricane Gustav has been less destructive than was expected. ‘Events’, said Bismarck, ‘are stronger than the plans of men’, and even in our technologically advanced civilisation Nature frequently reminds us of her ability to provide terrifying and destructive events. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, which engulfed the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, was, in comparison with some of Nature’s other efforts, comparatively unremarkable.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Moore’s work has been so influential that the former ministers who provided him with much of his information now r… ,
    • 'Although he travels through time and space to find the best produce, his choices, delightfully, are not obvious.'… ,
    • RT : I regularly make purchases based on - it’s excellent.,
    • RT : I wrote about Yoko Ogawa's dreamlike, allegorical novel The Memory Police, newly published in English in a translat… ,
    • 'At this frankly apocalyptic moment for indigenous rights in Brazil, John Hemming’s "People of the Rainforest" is a… ,
    • 'I was dumbfounded by the view of the Berlin Wall from the eastern side. It seemed inconceivable that in under thre… ,
    • RT : Danger for ‘local’ staff, access in exchange for silence (and logos) - all sounds familiar in this fascinating look… ,