Reading Jérôme Carcopino's timeless account of life in ancient Rome brings the reader back to the dark, narrow, crowded Roman streets, flanked on both sides by teetering, five-story tenements. Although written in a style of long ago, therein lies the charm of this book. Jérôme Carcopino has effortlessly summoned 1st and 2nd Century Rome back to life. And what a society of contrasts he evokes: on the one hand, the highly refined aspects of Roman society, epitomized by the public baths, the public parks, the theater, and the dinners hosted by the wealthy for their friends; on the other hand, he describes compellingly the dark side of Roman society, in particular, slavery and the gladiatorial games which entertained the Roman public with the appallingly casual slaughter of both man and beast. His detailed accounts depict horrific spectacles pitting man against man, man against beast, beast against beast -- and woman against dwarf. The most interesting part of his book, though, is his insight respecting the toxic impact slavery had upon Roman society, both upon the poor pleb in general and upon the Roman family in particular. This book is a must for anyone captivated by Roman social history.