Book Review Example: The Lives of the Caesars, Records of the Grand Historian of China

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The Lives of the Caesars by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus

In the book, The Lives of the Caesars by Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus creates a vivid picture in the mind of the reader and outlines chronological explanation to the events that took place during the times of leadership of different emperors of Rome. One issue that is of great importance is the choice of description that Suetonius uses in the description of power that the Roman emperor exercised. One reason for the choice of the description is to tell the audience the processes used in the transfer of power from one ruler to the next and the requirements they had to fulfill in the process. In this manner, the book provides a wealth of knowledge and an inside picture of the lives of the emperors and how leadership and authority affected their personal lives and their daily lifestyles. In this manner, it the writing style makes the reader to follow the story and boost understanding of the trends of leadership.

Another reason for the selection of the writing style that was used in writing the book was to preserve the original information and prevent changing and alteration of words, actions and events that took place thousands of years ago, and how their actions defined their authorities. Such is evident where the author revealed information about Octavius and posits that In governing his province he showed equal justice and courage; for besides routing the Bessi and the other Thracians in a great battle, his treatment of our allies was such, that Marcus Cicero, in letters which are still in existence. The author chose to write in second person to make it easy for the readers to acknowledge the authoritative nature of the information that Suetonius gave out about power and leadership. The third reason for the choice of writing style that Suetonius used was to uphold the subjective nature of his opinions of the characters that he described in the book while giving the reader the opportunity to view the Caesars through his eyes. Another reason for the writing style used was to prevent any cases of bias in the reading, and this is because the books are presented as reported. In this manner, the style helped Suetonius to remain objective on the subjects without showing any political inclination to any rule whose history he discusses. Finally, the way Suetonius wrote helps readers to understand and get valuable information regarding personal habits, heritage, lives, physical appearances, and political careers of Roman emperors. The details in which the author delve are the serve to expound on the evidence available on the emperors.

Records of the Grand Historian of China by Sima Qian

In this book, Sima Qian shows the importance of having an authoritative command on the subordinates, and this is apparent in the way the definitive biographies which he creates focusses on famous leaders and major topics of focus. Additionally, the author uses the choice of writing style helps in explain the ingredient of leadership and power in any political position and the effects of the same. The author explains how the Chinese people transferred power and maintains that sons were the probable heirs of authorities from their fathers. Such is apparent that the choice of writing style that Sima Qian uses is bent in convincing the readers that the best way to be authoritative in China was only through inheriting the throne from rulers. Another issue that attracts attention of the readers is the role of ones character in leadership as it is apparent that Qian presents the leaders of China as immoral as the second emperor was borne of a concubine. As a result, the author advises the readers that power focuses less on ones origin but depends, in a great way, on ones background and family status. It is because despite Zheng being a son of a concubine, he fit perfectly the role of a king.

Moreover, Sima takes focus on the role of age in exercising power in governance and political leadership, and the writing proves that leadership does not depend on ones age but on the foundations laid down in the society. Such is prudent as King Zhuangxiang died as a king at the age of thirteen which means that he started to exercise political power and authority while still young and he ruled his subjects with wisdom. The reported speech that Sima uses helps in making the article authoritative and implore the reader to acknowledge the objective nature of events and activities that took place in the lives of the rulers in China. The book is of great importance in the society as it shows the history of China and the great steps that the country made to achieve the current degree of success witnessed in the modern society. As a result of strong foundation in political power that the country laid, China is able to remain strong politically and show great performance in economic, social and political niches.



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