The Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny

The Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny

“A wonderfully rich, witty, insightful, and wide-ranging portrait of the two Plinys and their world.”―Sarah Bakewell, author of How to Live

When Pliny the Elder perished at Stabiae during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, he left behind an enormous compendium of knowledge, his thirty-seven-volume Natural History, and a teenaged nephew who revered him as a father. Grieving his loss, Pliny the Younger inherited the Elder’s notebooks―filled with pearls of wisdom―and his legacy.
At its heart, The Shadow of Vesuvius is a literary biography of the younger man, who would grow up to become a lawyer, senator, poet, collector of villas, and chronicler of the Roman Empire from the dire days of terror under Emperor Domitian to the gentler times of Emperor Trajan.
A biography that will appeal to lovers of Mary Beard books, it is also a moving narrative about the profound influence of a father figure on his adopted son. Interweaving the younger Pliny’s Letters with extracts from the Elder’s Natural History, Daisy Dunn paints a vivid, compellingly readable portrait of two of antiquity’s greatest minds.

Title:The Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781631496394
Format Type:

    The Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny Reviews

  • Clif Hostetler

    This book is a biography of Pliny the Younger with frequent reference to his uncle, Pliny the Elder. By combining information from multiple historical sources, including examples of their historical l...

  • Blaine DeSantis

    What a wonderful book!!!! Daisy Dunn has done a spectacular job in bringing Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger to life. This year I have read books on Claudius, Cicero and now the Pliny’s. The ot...

  • Jane

    Unusual and spellbinding biography of Pliny the Younger, with much mention of Pliny the Elder and the latter's influence on him. Divided thematically into several parts, called by the names of seasons...

  • Brian

    Entertaining, informative and immensely readable, Daisy Dunn's account of the life of Pliny the Younger is arranged thematically rather than chronologically, allowing her scope to explore the concentr...

  • St Jerome

    ‘Lucky, I think, are those men with a god-given gift for doing what deserves to be written about or writing what deserves to be read - and very lucky are those who can do both...’Pliny the Younger...

  • Stephanie (Bookfever)

    When I picked up this book to read I had of course hoped to at least like it but I couldn't have predicted that I would be so crazy about it. In fact, I loved it so much that it's without a doubt in m...

  • Matthew

    I picked up this book after seeing its review in the Wall Street Journal.I really wanted to like it, but I have to admit that while I enjoyed sections, the book wanders so much that the lack of overal...

  • Regina Andreassen

    3.5 stars and perhaps I am still a bit generous. In the Shadow of Vesuvius is not really the book I expected it to be; for instance, there is very little talk of the Vesuvius and Pompeii and some sect...

  • Charles Haywood

    The Roman Empire gets a bad rap. This is particularly true of the members of its ruling class, who get the worse of the obvious comparison with Republican virtue, and are often viewed as placeholders ...

  • Kelsey

    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I really did not know much about Pliny the Elder or Younger before reading this book; I only knew that Pliny the Elder's Natural History was a book that existe...