Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Julius Caesar: Young Statesman

Julius Caesar: Young Statesman

Beatrice Gormley
For ages 8 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2006   ISBN: 978-1416912811

Young Gaius Julius Caesar knew that he was from a famous and highly respected family. He was a member of the Patrician class and his mother had told him that he is descended from both the goddess Venus and the great hero Aeneas. As a member of the Julian family he knew that he could expect to have an important career when he grew up. He could not help hoping that he would be a great military hero like his uncle Marius, a man much loved by the people of Rome. He was therefore very distressed when his father told him that he was going to have to become the high priest of the temple Jupiter. It was a great honor to be selected for this job but it was not one that Gaius wanted. More than anything Gaius wanted to make his mark on the world. Gaius could not help feeling that this was something that his father, Gaius Julius Caesar the Elder, was not able to do in his lifetime.

As Gaius grew up into a young man the situation in Rome became more and more unsettled. Men fought in the forum and on the streets for power, and at times Gaius had to leave his home town because it was not safe for him to remain there. Gaius watched and learned, seeing how other men rapidly rose to power and then fell from grace just as quickly. Slowly he made his way up the political ladder, carefully distancing himself from those whose futures looked dangerous. With courage and careful planning Gaius turned himself into a military leader beloved by his soldiers and admired by the people.

Young readers will be fascinated to discover what the famous Julius Caesar was like when he was a boy and young man. They will come to see that life in Rome must have been very dangerous at this time; when the people were not happy with their leaders, when reform was needed, when slaves were revolting, and when generals and politicians would do anything to gain power and wealth. This well written account not only describes these extraordiary events, but it also gives the reader a picture of what it must have been like to be a Roman; what people wore and ate, how they were educated, how they entertained themselves, and more.

This is one of the titles in the "Childhood of World Figures" series.