The First Emperor

by Peter Kennedy(first published in Wivenhoe News Winter edition 2006)

There was a proper sense of occasion as people gathered in the Wivenhoe Bookshop on the evening of Friday 28th October 2006 to hear Anthony Everitt speak on the launch of The First Emperor, Caesar Augustus and the Triumph of Rome

This, his latest book, is a dynamic and meticulously researched biography of the Emperor Augustus.  The author’s brief exposition to his audience was a shining example of how to impart a message spliced with wit and humour, and he pointed out that "The Romans knew how to keep an empire.  The British learnt more from the Romans about how to do that than the Americans ever did."

Anthony Everitt, a Wivenhoe resident for some fifteen years, has an impressive background in literature and the arts.  Former Secretary-General of the Arts Council of Great Britain, he is a Visiting Professor in performing and visual arts at Nottingham Trent University, a Companion of Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and an Honorary Fellow of Dartington College of the Arts.

He is also the author of Cicero: a Turbulent Life, the best-selling biography of the Roman statesmen and orator.   His current book, The First Emperor, is beautifully produced and printed, with notes and sources and a highly detailed index.  Moreover it is a darn good read.  Professor Everitt’s next project is a life of the Emperor Hadrian, which will complete a trilogy of Cicero, Augustus and Hadrian, and of the story of the transformation of the Roman Republic into a highly successful Roman Empire. 

The evening’s event was coupled with a celebration of the Wivenhoe Bookshop’s thirtieth anniversary [which had fallen on 9 October] and birthday cards and congratulation cards were prominent in the window and on the shelves.  Proprietor Ginny Waters, with the help of a young lady customer, blew out the candles on the sumptuous birthday cake to a general round of applause.  As Anthony Everitt commented, the Bookshop is one of the best things in Wivenhoe.

The First Emperor,published by John Murray at £25, is available at Wivenhoe Bookshop.

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (5 Oct 2006)
  • Language English
  • ISBN-10: 0719554942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719554940