POMPEII by Peter Connolly


Age Range: 10 & up
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            An entry in the large-format, copiously illustrated “Rebuilding the Past” series that focuses on objects and architecture as they reveal daily life in the Roman city.  Introducing the subject with brief accounts of Vesuvius’s eruption in A.D. 79 and the excavation of the remains, Connolly describes Pompeii’s public sites (forum, theater, baths) and, especially, one particular insula (block) of homes and shops.  The level of detail here is almost exhaustive:  minutiae of the fulling process, seven historical stages in the art of wall decoration, lengthy exchanges in graffiti, and poignant stories suggested by preserved bodies – along with hundreds of facts derived from these extraordinary ruins – are meticulously presented and illustrated with photos as well as with attractive, precise, clearly captioned art.  Like a thorough guidebook, this offers few generalizations or conclusions; having run its course of topics, it stops abruptly after depicting a gladiatorial combat.  For a more thought-provoking, inspirational treatment, see Ron and Nancy Goor’s Pompeii (1986).  Connolly’s book has a different strength:  even offered without comment, the range and wealth of information here offer an insight into the potentials of scholarship that is rare in books for young people.  Index.           (Nonfiction.  10+)

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1990
ISBN: 0-19-917159-9
Page count: 78pp
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1990