Tiber: Eternal River of Rome

“This engaging book carries the reader along on an entertaining and often illuminating journey that traverses the entire course of the river’s history from antiquity until the twentieth century. Allen has assembled a collection of stories that are alternately charming, scandalous, intriguing, and informative, relating how the lives of individuals—ranging from painters to popes, shepherds to saints, and emperors to aviators—have intertwined with the Tiber.”

—Prof. Gregory S. Aldrete, author of Floods of the Tiber in Ancient Rome

“Tiber provides a thoroughly enjoyable gallimaufry, engagingly written, [ranging] through Rome’s history from the riverside view, with much curious learning lightly displayed. Good fun, with something for everyone.”

—Robert Twigger, author of Red Nile: A Biography of the World’s Greatest River

“Allen (The Great Siege of Malta) offers readers a miscellanea of anecdotes and sketches related to the Tiber in Rome, arranged in a generally chronological order. Emperors, popes, and other nobility—both secular and clerical—rub elbows with more common folk in these pages. Some themes feature prominently, such as descriptions of military action and recurrences of the Roman mob, last seen in 1944, tossing into the river the Fascist prison warden Donato Carretta. Other executions, suicides, and deaths by misadventure are included, as are floods and vagaries of the river, and somewhat random tidbits on ancient sewers, dragons, and the Renaissance-era occupation of fishing out firewood as it floated by. Bridges that span the river make several appearances, as do things hidden by its depths, ranging from the apocryphal story that the river’s bottom was lined with bronze sheeting to assorted sunken treasures including statues and a lost train. Alas, “the river… is now cut off from easy access, and largely from view.” With this amusing and delightful compendium of historical Tiber trivia, Allen has given readers a view of the river after all.”

—Publishers’ Weekly

The Great Siege of Malta

“The epic siege of Malta of 1565 deserved this book. The unthinkable happened when a small Christian army stood up to and defeated the mightiest military forces of the century, and that is always something to chant about and to celebrate. It is not that the Great Siege had been forgotten by historians and by novelists—anything but. What that-larger-than-life event lacked was a retelling, passionate and accurate, historically faithful and stirring, hauling the readers in, never to let hold of them. This is what Bruce Ware Allen’s account manages to achieve: to tell a true story that reads faster than a racy novel, to mold the stuff of legend to wholly human dimensions.”

—Giovanni Bonello, former Judge of the European Court of Human Rights and author of Histories of Malta

“Bruce Ware Allen’s The Great Siege of Malta is remarkable for the thoroughness of his research and his ability to portray the protagonists as three-dimensional human beings, warts and all.  As an example, I was aware of Francis I’s shallowness, vanity, and athletic abilities–he out-wrestled Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold!–but didn’t know that Charles V showered his conversation partners with spittle! This is a fine piece of scholarship, well-researched, convincingly argued and engagingly written.”

—Prof. John F. Guilmartin, Jr. OSU, author of Galley’s and Gunpowder

“Based on a rich corpus of documentation from a variety of European archives, Allen’s book offers us a thorough military analysis of perhaps the most important amphibious operation of the sixteenth-century Mediterranean. His eye for the detail, his rigor in juxtaposing historical data, and his clear prose produced a diligent study that makes an enjoyable read for both academic and non-academic audiences.”

—Dr. Emrah Safa Gürkan, assistant professor of history, Istanbul 29 Mayis University

“This book offers many excellent things: it’s a gripping read, and its scholarship opens a window onto a fascinating world. It provides deep insights into the nature of war and battle – or perhaps one should say into human nature – as well as providing some very thought-provoking parallels with today’s geopolitical situation. Highly recommended to all readers

—Naval Historical Foundation

“Allen’s mastery of the subject is evident throughout, and his is the most extensive bibliography of relevant materials to date, including as it does previously unutilized sources.”

—Military History Quarterly

“Allen has done a fine job of researching his subject. His footnotes bristle with references to relevant primary sources both Christian and Ottoman. . . . The writing is is lucid and crisp, which makes for a readable book.”

—The Sixteenth Century Journal