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Editorial Reviews

Stanley Kubrick might have given Spartacus it’s widespread fame, but the historical novel by Howard Fast from where it originated was perhaps even more moving, when you consider the circumstances that inspired it. Through the tension and censorship of the McCarthy Era, Fast developed this passionate story of freedom and hope in the face of oppression and slavery. Accomplished actor, Julian Elfer, gives a strong and energetic performance, bringing to life all the anguish and action of Spartacus, Crassus, and their loyal legions. Though focusing on a society that has long since disappeared, Fast’s Spartacus highlights the important and timeless lesson of keeping political systems in check.

Publisher's Summary

Spartacus, a fictionalization of a slave revolt in ancient Rome in 71 BC, is well known today because of the 1960 movie starring Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier. It was originally published in 1951 by Fast himself, after being turned down by every mainstream publisher of the day because of Fast's blacklisting for his Communist Party sympathies. The story of Spartacus, born a slave, trained as a gladiator, who led a slave revolt that was eventually put down by Crassus, was immensely popular and went on to sell millions of copies.

©1951 Howard Fast (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Spartacus

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The book still resonates..

Resonates to our time more than ever as one can draw parrallels to the wests abundance and spritual crisis to that of the plight of the romans in this book. Excellent for pondering on the themes of the book days after you have finished it

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  • mrs
  • 25-09-2016

This book is one of my all time faves

I love this book, first read it as a teenager and enjoyed rereading/listening to it again. It is a great story and also has a lot of depth for anyone interested in the lives of the ancient Romans.

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  • Jose
  • 16-10-2020

WoW that was the Best Audiobook Ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I loved the movie, but this book was not about battles and very different than the movie. It is about the Human Condition and what we do with the brief time we have on Earth. It does very well with character development. You can see these people in your mind's eye. The narrator, the revealed thoughts, and the dialogue are extremely meaningful. It is a spiritual journey of the human condition without God. I thought the whole thing simply amazing and it is hard to put into words. It also is really about modern times and not the past, and our need for purpose and justification. This was the only flawless audiobook I have read because it had a deep meaning that goes to the heart of life and ideals that give life meaning.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Barbara F. Hendren
  • 10-11-2020

No Plot

I listened for 1 1/2 hours and had to stop because I was so bored. The book was slow paced, has no discernible plot, and seems to focus on ancient Roman atrocities and vices. Don’t waste your time.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Nikki
  • 17-11-2017

Favorite read of 2017

Gripping. Compelling. Couldn’t recommend more highly. I was thoroughly engrossed in the narrative and meta narrative.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Kdmd
  • 31-07-2017

Just great!

Loved every minute! Beautiful, violent story that swept me up in the Roman slave revolt. Great story, narration and performance!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-03-2019

Thought provoking....

First I read it, then I listened to it. Now, the story of this simple man is part of my life. Thank you, Howard Fast.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jim
  • 12-02-2021

Problems with narration

The reader was potentially a very good reader, but he would go from almost a very soft whisper to very loud. I spent a good deal of time going back to try and hear the whispered parts. Very annoying. The story was OK, but I remember the movie being better. That's rare for me. Usually the book is better. It was very interesting to note the perspective of the author. His views of ancient Rome were from a decidedly communist perspective. I will admit I dont know enough about ancient Rome to challenge the author's view, but I do wonder if the wealth and power of the empire was built solely on the backs of laborer and slave labor. Where the aristocracy did nothing but idle their days away (sounding very much like 19th century British aristocrats). Maybe, but interesting from the view of an admitted communist. To me it was also fascinating that his description of the ideal man, Spartacus, was very much like Jesus as described in the gospel of John. A pure and worthy human being, not about power over people, but about love, and worth, and the value of human life.

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  • Maya
  • 19-12-2020

great classic

beautifull and eppic story. a classic book. loved it very much. the narrator is very good.

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  • SFW
  • 29-07-2021

Not what it says

This is not about Spartacus, it’s more about random history from the aftermath of Spartacus. Also the author loves his petty notes at the intro

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  • Matthew Burd
  • 28-07-2021

Wow! so much more than the movie

I was surprised how much more insight into Roman culture there was in this story vs the Hollywood version. Also how much the story wasn't a much Spartacus', but that of the people close to him. Lastly, the authors prologue is the most insightful and perspective changing aspect of this story for anyone that watched the film first. Great listen.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-06-2021

This is a great book

Very interesting. Very well read. I liked the narrator a lot. I enjoyed everything about this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-02-2021

Great listen sadly still apt for the time we're in

Really great story. Unfortunately it's still very apt for the times we live in. thought provoking, well worth a listen.

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  • Louise
  • 15-03-2017

Good story. well told.

enjoyed it very much. Was disappointed when it finished. Can picture the characters in the film as I read. Not a bad thing.

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  • Headteacher666
  • 13-12-2016

Blood and Defiance!

I was handed this novel to read almost forty years ago as a young student aged seventeen, as part of the English Literature syllabus for O Level. It was the first truly adult novel I'd read, and its fascinating time structure, it's incredible characters and its sweeping themes gripped me. My incredible lecturer, Dave Roden, showed me its power, force and beauty and I have never forgotten the significance it had for me. Several years later, I was reading English at university. I've never stopped loving books.
I came across this audiobook because I haven't, in all truth, read the book since my teens - but what a treat it was. It is beautifully read and brought the story to life in a way that text on a page doesn't do. It is exciting, touching and dramatic and transports you to a world of superficial order and justice which, you learn, exists only because of its hideous brutality. Men are tortured and butchered for the amusement of the rich - until a man stands up and fights it,
I would urge anyone and everyone to listen to it. Unmissable.

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