In 79 A.D. Vesuvius blew its top. Pompeii was buried in ashes and nearby Herculaneum was submerged in mud which became rock-hard, thus preserving every detail of its life, from art and architecture to charred loaves of bread. The Vice-Director of the American Academy in Rome describes Herculaneum's history, catastrophe, and various early attempts to dig it out (chiefly through tunnelling), and then goes on to list the various finds. The subject is somewhat self-limiting: pages of descriptions, though indeed splendid, and accompanied by maps and photographs, tend to become as frustrating as reading a guidebook without being on the spot. The author's attempts to enliven the material with small guessed-at stories, sometimes treated as fact, are ill-advised. The subject, however, is awe-inspiring, as was the ancient Romans' notion of a modest vacation home, of which so many were examples remain to be here described.