This entry in the Biographical History series covers aspects of the beginning and end of the Roman Empire, along with information about daily life when it was at its height. Every two-page spread covers one topic, with a few paragraphs of information, sidebars of primary source material, and a box containing a biography of a related figure. Whittock's excellent introduction is blessed with an intelligent design and layout, and, unlike other books on the subject, has two unusual points to recommend it. First, it takes a thoughtful approach to sources: The first section is an extended explanation of archeological and primary and secondary literary sources. Every section thereafter not only includes photos of and quotes from these sources, along with information about them, but often points out when they are in conflict. Second, the brief biographies give tantalizing glimpses of a large variety of important people. A great start on a complex subject.