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Publisher's Summary

Considered one of the finest historical works in the English language, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is lauded for its graceful, elegant prose style as much as for its epic scope. Remarkably accurate for its day, Gibbon's treatise holds a high place in the history of literature and remains an enduring subject of study.

Gibbon's monumental work traces the history of more than 13 centuries, covering the great events as well as the general historical progression. This first volume covers A.D. 180 to A.D. 395, which includes the establishment of Christianity and the Crusades.

©Public Domain (P)1992 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[Gibbon] stood on the summit of the Renaissance achievement and looked back over the waste of history to ancient Rome, as from one mountain top to another." (Christopher Dawson)

What members say

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A Classic - We Should Always Remember

Would you consider the audio edition of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1 to be better than the print version?

It is different to listen to Decline and Fall than to read it. Listening to it allows one to experience the visualization of fight scenes and what was going on in a stronger way. I've owned a copy of the full series since I was 14 and this is a beautiful accompaniment to the written version.

What other book might you compare The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1 to and why?

This stands alone as an epic classic.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The World Will Continue These Tales for Generations to Come...

Any additional comments?

If you are not afraid of the sheer mass of Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - get this and listen away... you will have adventure, intrigue and hours of listening pleasure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • michael
  • Long Beach, CA, United States
  • 06-16-13

Wonderful writing brilliantly read

Well done. Its a great book and Bernard Mayes is up to the daunting task of reading it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Like other reviewers, and,

I do sometimes wonder what Gibbons sources were. And having an index would be great too.
With all three volumes, I am searching to refresh my memory on ..............
"I know such and such is there , I heard it, but where is it, let alone what volume?"

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • L'Aura
  • Salt Lake City, UT, USA
  • 11-28-09

Very Valid Info - Very Dry Read

I'm a history buff and REALLY wanted to enjoy this, but I'm afraid I just can't finish it. There's a lot of information and it's great facts, but it's also a VERY dry read - I just can't keep up with it.

The narration isn't bad, although I do think there are narrators that might do better with it. But I think the material is just very dry stuff and any narrator would have a hard time keeping your attention.

It might be better in small chunks.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeff
  • San Ramon, CA, USA
  • 02-18-08

Bad Narrator

The way the narrator whistles his "S" just becomes too unbearable to listen too.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Bad recording of a great book

Let me put it this way: Do you remember boring old history professor, reading the same old sheaf of papers he used to read year after the year, not once lifting his eyes from the text, not noticing every single student is asleep, or drawing something or talking. Well, it looks they sacked him, and now he’s recording books. Only difference is, that in classroom it was “live” performance, and this book sounds like it was recorded in early thirties. I’ve tried listening to this book couple of times, at home, in the car, hoping that horrible crackle would mix with engine and traffic noises, yet without success. So, my advice is: if you really want to read Gibbons “Decline ...”, you would have to READ it. This audio book just isn’t worth trying. Listen to the sample, you don’t have connection or speakers problems, whole book is like that.

11 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Never a dull moment with this narrator

Would you listen to The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1 again? Why?

When I finished this audiobook, I listened to it again. And again. It just keeps on giving. Gibbon's command of the language is breathtaking. His quiet, ironic sense humour bursts through the narrative from time-to-time, and is utterly delightful.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1?

Passage after passage is worth quoting. For example: "The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful."

What about Bernard Mayes’s performance did you like?

It felt like Gibbon himself was reading the book.

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  • Daniel
  • Westfield, Indiana, United States
  • 11-08-15

Great recording of a great work.

I have no complaints about the book or recording. They are great.

The Decline and Fall can be very difficult to keep track of when/where you are at. I recommend listening through the first time, then listening again to gain more clarity of how everything occurred.

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The narrator killed the experience for me. I really tried to go through the book, but the performance was excessively dry.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Adam
  • Medford, MA, United States
  • 08-09-10

Better on Paper

I really wanted to like this, but some books just don't translate well to audio. This is one of them.

The reader is monotoned and the text has many vague descriptions of culture and etiquette that lack of events and characters to anchor the descriptions against. Your sense of wonder turns into boredom, malaise and then confusion as you try and remember what it was that Gibbon was talking about.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful