...it was a civilization that rose, flourished and disappeared within a few centuries, physically destroyed by Rome but never culturally obliterated. The author is experienced in historical reconstruction and she has put art and artifacts from the ancient tombs together with modern theories to present a ""horizontal"" history of the Etruscan people. She follows them to their fortified hill cities and their rich burial mounds. She speculates that those same Etruscans who had helped found the power of Rome may have succumbed to the fatalism inherent in their legends and religious practices combined with Rome's famous tactic of divide and conquer. This is straight popular history, not intended to be definitive, but serving as an introduction to ""those mysterious Etruscans."" Especially readable for ancient history course material.