In AD 200, the Roman Empire seemed unassailable, its vast territory accounting for most of the known world. By the end of the fifth century, Roman rule had vanished in Western Europe and much of northern Africa, and only a shrunken Eastern Empire remained. This was a period of remarkable personalities, from the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius to emperors like Diocletian, who portrayed themselves as tough, even brutal, soldiers. It was a time of revolutionary ideas, especially in religion, as Christianity went from persecuted sect to the religion of state and emperors. Ultimately, this is the story of how an empire without a serious rival rotted from within, its rulers and institutions putting short-term ambition and personal survival over the greater good of the state.
©2009 Adrian Goldsworthy (P)2014 Tantor
"This richly rewarding work will serve as an introduction to Roman history, but will also provide plenty of depth to satisfy the educated reader." (Publishers Weekly)
How comprehensive the story was. It began before Commodus and went past 476. This emphasized how the fall was not in a vacuum nor was it necessarily a true, catastrophic collapse.
It continually emphasized the facts instead of wide held societal beliefs. Each supposed cause of the fall of the Roman empire was examined and preconceived notions where attacked and discarded. It is very balanced and reasonable.
As with all my reviews of his work, he is an excellent narrator who can really bring the story to life.
They said it was un-filmable, and they where right
If you want a general overview of the narrative and potential causes of Rome's dissolution, this is an excellent source
Yes, and I might do that. I've read or listened to several recent books on this question, and Goldsworthy's argument is compelling. If every time you have a change of government, you have a devastating, depopulating civil war, and you have changes of government all the time, then it seems that you don't have to go very far to find out why Rome fell.Goldsworthy is really good at marshaling the evidence and not going beyond.
I did not have a favorite character.
Derek Perkins is a fine narrator. I should add that I am not extraordinarily fastidious in that regard.
no, it is too long.
Goldsworthy is an excellent writer with fine analytical skills. He also wrote a terrific book on Julius Caesar, Life of a Colossus.
This book and the author's book on Julius Caesar both seem thoroughly researched and carefully written. I appreciate how throughout the books he informs the reader where the source material is weak/strong.
For me How Rome Fell would probably flow better in print. Because of the high level view necessary to capture all the characters involved, the names of people and places often rush by and I found myself having to go back to remember them. I don't find this a fault of the author or narrator, but the nature of the material.
Say something about yourself!
Goldsworthy and Perkins are absolutely the best duo in sound literature and the primary source of my happiness with the Audible product. The only sad part for me is there are no more titles to read. I've listened to Caesar, Augustus and now finally How Rome Fell one after the other in a continuous high of wonderfully engaging material underneath an award winning spoken performance.
This is a well written and well researched book. However, as the title implies this is a book of "How" Rome Fell, recounting very specific individuals and events leading up to the fall of the empire. Thus a reader looking for a broader overview of "Why" Rome Fell may be disappointed. Author Adrian Goldsworthy does little to shed light on the socioeconomic, religious, or philosophical conditions which may have contributed to the fall. This is probably because (as the author says time and again) many of those factors would be based on conjecture and the author's own biases.
I am a national speaker on the relationship between the ancient western civilization and present day politics. Follow me!
This was a great book. Covers all the emperors very well but does not get into tabloid history. Only criticism is that you really need a timeline to look at now and again to keep it all straight in your head.
The author provides a detailed treatment of the western Roman Empire's decline and fall and what he plausibly presents as the principal underlying reasons. He is, nevertheless, careful to remind the reader/listener about the limits of what we can know with reasonable certainty about many aspects of the empire and Roman society; much of what is commonly believed is based on conjecture. Of greatest importance, the book kept me awake during many commutes.
Complete and detailed history of the late Roman Empire that is well written. The narration is excellent and the author does an excellent job summarizing the causes and reasons for the fall of the empire and its comparison to present day global powers.
A very informative history of the Roman Empire from Augustus past the fall of the Western Empire in 476 thru Justinian! (A nice surprise!) It is truly amazing that the Western Empire lasted as long as it did thru numerous & almost constant civil wars!
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