In this dramatic, page-turning history, Simon Hall takes the long view of the year's events—putting them in their post-war context and looking toward their influence on the counterculture movements of the 1960s—to tell the story of the year's epic, global struggles from the point of view of the freedom fighters, dissidents, and countless ordinary people who worked to overturn oppressive and authoritarian systems in order to build a brave new world. It was an epic contest.
1956 is the first narrative history of the year as a whole—and the first to frame its tumultuous events as part of an interconnected, global story of revolution.
Simon Hall studied history at Cambridge University and held a Fox International Fellowship at Yale, before moving to the University of Leeds to teach American history. His previous books for the academic market include Peace and Freedom: The Civil Rights and Antiwar Movements in the 1960s; American Patriotism, American Protest: Social Movements Since the Sixties; and Rethinking the American Anti-War Movement. 1956 is his first trade book. He lives in England.
From the conquest of the Mediterranean beginning in the third century BC to the destruction of the Roman Empire at the hands of barbarian invaders some seven centuries later, we discover the most critical episodes in Roman history: the spectacular collapse of the 'free' republic, the birth of the age of the 'Caesars', the violent suppression of the strongest rebellion against Roman power, and the bloody civil war that launched Christianity as a world religion.
At the heart of this account are the dynamic, complex but flawed characters of some of the most powerful rulers in history: men such as Pompey the Great, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Nero and Constantine. Putting flesh on the bones of these distant, legendary figures, Simon Baker looks beyond the dusty, toga-clad caricatures and explores their real motivations and ambitions, intrigues and rivalries.
The superb narrative, full of energy and imagination, is a brilliant distillation of the latest scholarship and a wonderfully evocative account of Ancient Rome.