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This book is for my daughter, Rachel, and for my son, Jonathan. It is a story of brave men and women who lived long ago, and whose names have never been forgotten. The heroes of this story cherished human dignity, and lived nobly and well. I wrote it so that those who read it, my children and others, may take strength for our own troubled future and that they may struggle against oppression and wrong – so that the dream of Spartacus may come to be in our own time.
[rust brown, dark blue, olive, and black cloth, gold lettering]
(black cloth is a 2nd printing (1951), noted by Robin Hobbs)

"Special" edition ($5.00)

The (1951) pre-publication letter states:
"... The only way this can be done is for me to sell a sufficient number of copies in advance at $5. I shall number these copies and autograph each of them. They will be specially bound, and delivered to the people who purchase them before the regular edition is on the market."

363 pp, 21.3 cm, "Published December 1951 / First Edition", Published by the Author, Box 171 Planetarium Station. New York.

Fast's full-page NY Times Book Review ad, March 16, 1952: "The first, limited edition of Spartacus was published on December 24. Since then six more editions have been printed."

All (?) copies of the ($5.00) cloth, special (subscription) edition are signed, some numbered on the ffep:

On the (3) numbered examples I've seen, the signatures are close to the top of the page, and resemble the one above. On the (2) unnumbered copies, they are closer to the middle of the page, and more flowery, the final T appearing as a D, as below.

Apparently there's not much correlation between numbering and cloth color. The earliest numbers are usually rust brown. Please email if you have one of these special editions and can add to this data:


Inserted into each copy was a 3"x5" card:

"The author, who is also the publisher of this book, would appreciate any comments the readers might care to make. Also, since many normal channels of distribution are closede to him, hje suggests that copies of Spartacus, either singly or in quantity, may be ordered by writing to him directly. Bookstores will receive a normal discount."

Pre-publication "subscription" letter for Spartacus

Angus Cameron's Official Reader's Report and letter (1951)

Fast on Spartacus
in Being Red (1990)

Author's Note and excerpt from Spartacus,
in Masses & Mainstream, July 1951

Doxey A. Wilkerson's review of Spartacus
in Masses & Mainstream, March 1952.

Fast's letter on sources for Spartacus, March, 1961

Interview with Fast about Spartacus
AncientSites, June 2000

NY Times Book Review full-page ad


"Regular" edition ($2.50)

363 pp, 21.1 cm, "Published December 1951", Published by the Author, Box 171 Planetarium Station. New York. ($2.50)
Except for the price and being slightly trimmed, the dust jacket is the same. The book is about 2 mm (1/16") shorter than the special edition; the binding is not true cloth, but rather like linson, with the cloth pattern embossed.
Fast, in Being Red [296]: "(I must note that, though Spartacus is dated December 1951, I did not receive books until January 1952. The rush of sales took place in the following three months.)"


yellow linson, red lettering,
"Published December 1951"

light teal linson, black lettering,
"Second Printing" (Jan'52)

tan linson, brown lettering,
"Third Printing, January 1952"

brick red linson, black lettering,
"Fourth Printing" (Feb'52)

dark teal linson, black lettering, thick paper, "Fifth Printing" (March'52)"

tan linson, brown lettering, thick paper, "Sixth Printing" (March '52)

published-by-author printing history
(dates from the 1952 Blue Heron Press edition)

1stDecember 1951
 2nd prntng, Dec 1951
2ndJanuary 1952
3rdJanuary 1952
4thFebruary 1952
5thMarch 1952
6thMarch 1952
7thBlue Heron
April 1952, pbk (below)

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1951.Spartacus in: Masses and Mainstream, p.21-35, Jul'51. chapter from (forthcoming) Spartacus with preceding author's note on the composition and publication. [Part II Section III].*

1951 first (special) edition and 1952 first six printings, above. 363 pp, Published by the Author, Box 171 Planetarium Station. New York.* ($2.50)

pbk, 7th printing, 363 pp, 20.6 cm, Blue Heron Press. 43 West 94 Street, New York 25.*

The first Blue Heron Press book. The first six printings show "Published by the author", and the Box 171 address. This is not changed on the title page, but "The Blue Heron Press" is printed on the back cover.
The back covers of some later Blue Heron Press editions (e.g. The Last Supper) offer Spartacus (cloth $2.50, paper $1.00). This is the $1.00 paper edition.
(original scans by Nile Hagen of Longfellow's Books)

1952.368 pp, 20.3 cm, 1st UK, [red cloth, gold lettering]. The Bodley Head. London.*

dust jacket shows 13s 6d net, additional titles on rear flap

1952.368 pp, 20.3 cm, Joseph Waters. Melbourne.*

dust jacket rear flap is blank. Except for that, and indications of publisher (base of spine, title page, copyright page), identical to Bodley Head edition (above).

1956.368 pp, 20.3 cm. The Bodley Head. London. (1952)

1958.363 pp, 21 cm, "Eighth Printing, 1958", [yellow cloth] / "$3.95" on dj. Crown Publishers. New York.*
Jacket drawing by Joseph Hirsch

1958.363 pp, 21 cm, "Eighth Printing, 1958", [yellow cloth spine, grey linson boards with gladiator print] "Special movie edition / $1.98" on dj, thick paper, Crown Publishers. New York.*

1959 (Oct). 285 pp, 18 cm, pbk, A Panther Book. UK.

285 pp, 18 cm, pbk, A Panther Book. UK. (3'6)* (1959, Oct)

1960. film: Spartacus.

1960.368 pp, 20.3 cm. The Bodley Head. London. (1952, 1956)

1960.280 pp, 17.5 cm, pbk, Bantam Books, NY (H1985). (60¢)*
(includes printing history of "Blue Heron Press" edition, above)

1960. pbk comicbook (1139) (movie), Dell Publishing Co. (10¢)

1960. 285 pp, 18 cm, pbk, A Panther Book. UK. (1959)*

1961. 285 pp, 18 cm, pbk, A Panther Book. UK. (3'6) (1959, 1960)*

1961. pbk, Bantam. (1960)

1962. 285 pp, 18 cm, pbk, A Panther Book. UK.(1959, 1960, 1961)

1963. 285 pp, 18 cm, pbk, A Panther Book. UK.(1959, 1960, 1961), 1962)

1964.363 pp, 20.2 cm, "Ninth Printing", Crown Publishers, Inc. New York. ($1.75)* (1958)

1965. pbk, A Panther Book. London, UK. (1959, 1960, 1961, 1963)

1968.368 pp, 20.3 cm. The Bodley Head. London.(1952, 1956, 1960)

1970. pbk, A Panther Book. London, UK. (1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965)*
cover illustration by Gino d'Achille

1974. pbk, 285 pp, 17.7 cm, A Mayflower Book. Saint Albans, Hertfordshire, UK.*
cover illustration by Richard Clifton-Dey
 1979. 368 pp, Bodley Head. London. (1952, 1956, 1960, 1968)

pbk, 314 pp, 17.5 cm, edges green, Dell (17649). New York. ISBN: 0-440-17649-2. ($2.25) *

("First Dell printing October 1980")

 1981. 368 pp, Bodley Head. London. ISBN: 0583125018. (1952, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1979)

1981. 285 pp, 18 cm, pbk. A Mayflower Book, Granada. London.(1959, 1974)

 1982 (Jun). pbk, hardcover Buccaneer Books, UK. ISBN: 0899664334. ($17.95)
 1983. Amereon Ltd. ISBN: 088411547X. ($28.95)
 1983.pbk, 314 pp, 17.5 cm, Dell (17649). New York. ISBN: 0-440-17649-2.
 1984 (Sep) 473 pp, 25 cm, large print, G.K. Hall. Boston. ISBN: 081613670X.

1985. pbk, Bantam.+ (1960, 1961)

pbk, 314 pp, 17.5 cm, Dell (17649). New York. ISBN: 0-440-17649-2.* ($4.50) [The Pledge published 1988]

363 pp, 23 cm, pbk, New ed. / with special introduction by the author. M.E. Sharpe (North Castle Books). Armonk, N.Y. ISBN: 156324599X. ($18.95)

363 pp, iBooks, Inc. ASIN: 0743412826 / 376 pp, ISBN: 1596872934 ($6.99)

An error? An edition (printing) that's not listed here?
Please let me know.

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   IT IS NOT EASY for an author who publishes his own work to write what publishers call a blurb, a come-on for readers. The extravagant phrases used in such cases come less readily from the pen of the person who wrote the book -- and knows with what hopes and difficulties and effort it was put together.
   Here is the story of Spartacus, who led the great slave revolt against the Roman Republic in its last dying moments. I wrote this tale because I considered it an important story for the times in which we live. Not in the mechanical sense of historical parallels; but because there is hope and strength to be taken from such a story -- and because Spartacus lived not for one time of man but for all times of man. I wrote it to give hope and courage to those who would read it, and in the process of writing it, I gained hope and courage myself.
   To write a novel takes a long time; in writing a novel, one can solve many problems and gain much understanding and knowledge of people and what people struggle and hope for. Some of that I gained from writing this book and living so long with the men and women who inhabit its pages; some of it I hope you will get out of reading it.
   If my own opinion of my own work is of value, then I can say that I like this best of all my books. It was the hardest to write, and it was written during the most difficult time of my life; but when I finished it I had a good feeling of satisfaction and a job well done.

   Angus Cameron wrote to the author after reading the manuscript of Spartacus:

   "It shows the sure hand of a real artist, for the form you have selected is a difficult kind which, once it falters, is fatal to the illusion; but it never falters. You have told this on many levels and yet managed to find a unity for the telling of Spartacus's life.
   "But the thing I like best about the telling is your success, at last, in portraying the inner contradictions not only of a time but of the people in that time. When one can come away from the reading of this story hating Gracchus and Crassus and the rest for what they stand for and yet seeing the universal possibilities of good in each of them, then you have told about life as it really is... What I am trying to say is that the form of the story, the contradictions of the characters and the picture of Rome at the end of the Republic all show an understanding that reality in each field is comprised of two opposing sides of the same coin. It seems to me that while losing none of your capacity for indignation at and hatred for the evil men do, you have added to this a larger sense of compassion for those that do evil. The novel does not excuse these people, but it shows that each human being has the capacity for being something other than he is. I congratulate you."

from the dust jacket of the 1951 first edition

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 1981. (Danish, tr. by Fredrik Martner) 322 pp, 22 cm, "3. opl.". Tiden. Copenhagen.
 1966. Spartacus: roman uit het oude Rome. (Dutch, tr. by Johan de Molenaar) 320 pp, Reinaert romanreeks (172). Reinaert. Brussel.
 1982. (Dutch, tr. by Johan de Molenaar) 312 pp, 20 cm, "Agathonreeks". Agathon. Bussum. ISBN: 90-269-5036-5.
 1972. (French, tr. by Jean Rosenthal) preface by Gilbert Sigaux, illustrations by Charles Bardet. xii, 409, [8] pp, 21 cm, cov. ill., Le Cercle du bibliophile. Les Romans historiques. Edito-service EDITEUR:[Evreux]: diffusion le Cercle du bibliophile. Genève.
 1985. (French) 403 pp, Étiquette noire. Hors collection. Encre. Paris. ISBN: 2-86418-247-5.
 1953. Spartacus. (German) 404 pp, Dietz. Berlin.
 1978. Spartacus: Roman. (German, tr. by Liselotte Julius) 398 pp, 21 cm, Büchergilde Gutenberg. Frankfurt am Main; Wien; Zürich. ISBN: 3-7632-2230-8.
 1978. Spartacus: Roman. (German) pbk, Rowohlt. Copenhagen.
 1981. Spartacus: Roman. (German, tr. by Liselotte Julius) 266 pp, 19 cm, pbk, Rowohlt-Taschenbuch-Verlag. Reinbek bei Hamburg.
 1976. Spartacus: regény. (Hungarian, tr. by Szentkuthy Miklós) 368 pp, 21 cm, Fiatalok Könyvtára. Kozmosz Könyvek. Budapest. ISBN: 9632111303.
 1963. Spartakus: skáldsaga byggð  á  sögulegum heimildum. (Icelandic) 204 pp, 22 cm, Stjörnuútgáfan. Reykjavík.
 1953. Spartaco. (Italian) xvi,[2],386 pp, 19.5 x 13 cm, 1st Italian edition, Cooperativa del Libro Popolare (Sergio Borelli). Milano.
 1959,1960. Spartacus : romanzo. (Italian, tr. by Attilio Veraldi) 375 pp, 20 cm, 2nd edition, A. Mondadori (Romanzi e racconti d'oggi). Milano.
 1980. Spartacus. (Italian, tr. by Attilio Veraldi) introduzione di Vito Amoruso. viii,375 pp, 18 cm, Biblioteca universale Rizzoli. Milano.
 1954. (Norwegian, tr. by Per Wollebæk) 334 pp, Tiden. Oslo.
 1995. Ispartakus. (Persian, tr. by Zabih Allah Mansuri) 370 pp, 25 cm, Chap-i 3, Zarrin (1373). Tehran.
 2000. Fast, Howard. Spartacus. (Polish, tr. by Krystyna Tarnowska) Amber.
 1961. Spartacus: romance. (Portuguese, tr. by H. Silva Letra) 360 pp, 21 cm, Colecçao Ontem e sempre ; 3. Publicaçoes Europa-América. Lisboa.
 1974. (Portuguese, tr. by H. Silva Letra) 267 pp, Publicaçoes Europa-América. Lisboa.
 197?. (Portuguese) Circulo de Leitores.
 1959. Espartaco. (Spanish) 7 ed., Buenos Aires.
 1953. Spartakus. (Swedish, tr. by Olle Moberg) Arbetarkultur. Stockholm.
 1959. Spartakus. (Swedish, tr. by Olle Moberg) 319 pp, Arena. Stockholm.
 1955. Spartakum. (Yiddish, tr. by P. Kats) 327 pp, 21 cm, port. Ikuf. Buenos Ayres.

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Book Review Digest, May '52.
Library Journal, 77:437 Mar.1'52. C.J. Roth.
London Times Literary Supplement, Nov.7'52 p.271.
Masses and Mainstream, Mar'52, p.53-58. Doxey Wilkerson.
Nation, Apr.5'52 p.331. Harvey Swados.
New York Daily Worker, Feb 29'52. Milton Howard. (reprinted in People's World).
New York Times, Feb.3'52, p.22. Melville Heath.
People's World (San Francisco) Jan 25'52. Steve Murdock.
Saturday Review of Literature, p17 Mar 8'52.

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 1984. Read by David Glyn-Jones. audio cassette, 8 sound cassettes (610 min.): 1 7/8 ips, 2 track, mono. Library Services Branch. Vancouver.