The Table of Contents, a tabulation of ruling lines and rulers, is the tip-off: like its predecessor, The Roman Republic (1966, 515, J-175), this is detailed political history, reign by reign, in this case, with occasional sorties into literature, philosophy and science. Like its predecessor, too, it suffers from galloping factualitis, with one major exception: the extended treatment of Judaism and early Christianity as intertwined with Roman history. Indeed, the very pragmatic explanation of the successes of Christianity--"It seems to have something to please everyone"--may disturb some fundamentalists. The text characterizes each emperor, identifies his associates and opponents, notes his difficulties and achievements, and tries to correct historical error, to connect trends and terminology to the present. As the Empire progressed (?), life expectancy of the rulers became shorter, and "the business of the Empire (became) the defense of the Empire"; the characters flash by fighting their battles, and depart, leaving little but footnotes behind them. Despite its positive points, most youngsters will find this unrewardingly tedious and would be better served by a more selective approach.