"This magnificent love letter to Rome comes in the form of a vivid chronicle of the great city’s repeated catastrophes and recoveries. Sharp-eyed, richly informed, tirelessly curious, and often wryly amusing, Kneale is the perfect Virgil to accompany any pilgrim who wishes to trace the vast spiral that leads from the ancient past to the bittersweet present."
– Stephen Greenblatt Author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
“Evokes [Rome] with casual brilliance. . . . The most exciting passages relate the sacks themselves, from motley barbarian armies appearing below the walls (several times in fact) to the horror of Allied bombing raids. . . . There are many other gripping vignettes. . . . this is not a tale of decline and fall so much as a slow roller-coaster ride through the fortunes of a place deeply entangled in its past.”
– Greg Woolf, The Wall Street Journal
“The brilliance of [Kneale’s] own raid on Rome lies in the principle of selectivity he has brought to it—what is done to Rome matters as much as what Rome does to the world—and the depth of his research. . . . Kneale [is] one step ahead of most other Roman chroniclers.”
– Aaron Retica, The New York Times Book Review
"Rome: A History in Seven Sackings is that rarest of treats: an erudite history that reads like a page-turner. With a novelist’s eye for the revealing detail, and the genial grace of your favorite tour guide, Matthew Kneale plunges us into the fascinating palimpsest they call the Eternal City. Magnificently entertaining all around!"
– Maria Semple, author of Today Will Be Different and Where’d You Go, Bernadette
“Anyone who’s visiting Rome and wants an idea of the ghosts and stories lurking among the ruins could choose no better read.”
– Louis Cheslaw, Condé Nast Traveler
"What’s not to love about a historical book that reads like a novel? Long-time resident (and novelist) Matthew Kneale tells the story of Rome through the lens of seven key battles. . . . You’ll come away with a new understanding of one of the world’s most well-preserved cities, its famed ruins, and the tenacity and pride of its people."
– AFAR Magazine
"Like most very old and very storied cities, Rome has as many scars as trophies.This hard reality is the guiding genius of Matthew Kneale's absorbing new book. . . . [Rome's] long, uneven, colorful history feels new when it's examined this way, through its defeats instead of its victories."
– Steve Donoghue, Christian Science Monitor
“With an eye for detail and an ear for language, Kneale guides a journey through seven bloody events spanning more than two millennia in the history of the place he knows well, the world’s most fascinating city, Rome. It’s an unforgettable trip.”
– Barry Strauss, Cornell University, author of The Death of Caesar: The Story of History’s Most Famous Assassination