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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling author Adrian Goldsworthy turns his attention to the Pax Romana, the famous peace and prosperity brought by the Roman Empire at its height in the first and second centuries AD. Yet the Romans were conquerors, imperialists who took by force a vast empire stretching from the Euphrates to the Atlantic coast. Ruthless, Romans won peace not through coexistence but through dominance; millions died and were enslaved during the creation of their empire.

Pax Romana examines how the Romans came to control so much of the world and asks whether traditionally favorable images of the Roman peace are true. Goldsworthy vividly recounts the rebellions of the conquered and examines why they broke out, why most failed, and how they became exceedingly rare. He reveals that hostility was just one reaction to the arrival of Rome and that from the outset, conquered peoples collaborated, formed alliances, and joined invaders, causing resistance movements to fade away.

©2016 Adrian Goldsworthy (P)2016 Tantor

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What listeners say about Pax Romana

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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2 stars if youve read goldsworthy; 2.5 or 3 if not

Hes an excellent writer and historian, well balanced and realistic.
this book however, has too much recycled material from his other books and some of the lengthy chapters are badly organized...especially 8 and 9..those chapters wore me out

the chapter on cicero's governorship are interesting


the intro and the conclusion are his same warning hes used in other books not to use rome as a lens for today etc etc etc

11 people found this helpful

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Best of his books.

I have read (listened) all his Rome books. They are all good to very good but this is over the top wonderful. This is Rome at 20,000 feet with occasional landings. But he at his best in contrasting our view of things with 2016 eyes with how things were perceived over the last 1000 years. Sure Romans had terrible maps but so did Napoleon. This is a wonderful book which is better digested after reading a few of the earlier works. Bravo.

10 people found this helpful

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Not Goldworthy's Best

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I wouldn't recommend it to a friend unless they specifically wanted to review it within a larger body of study. I have read several of Goldworthy's other books and this is at the bottom of that list in terms of quality and academic integrity. In many respects it is a well researched and academically solid text, in others I have some concerns which I will address below.

Would you recommend Pax Romana to your friends? Why or why not?

See Above.

Have you listened to any of Derek Perkins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not listened to Derek Perkins before, but I thought he did a very good job in his narration. His speech was clear and the tonal quality of his voice was easy to listen to, even for extended periods of time.

Did Pax Romana inspire you to do anything?

No, nothing other than to keep reading and researching the vast and often complicated history of the Roman Empire.

Any additional comments?

I would have liked to give this book a higher rating, but could not bring myself to do so. For one, at times the dialog seemed to lag and in my opinion could have been presented in a more direct manner. In regards to academic integrity, it is apparent in several places (chapters 11-12) that Goldworthy is either pandering to popular Christian traditions or attempting to validate the historically questionable nature of the Pauline Epistles and Book of Acts. The use of such documents as historical sources, while questionable, isn't without some possible relevance in the construction of an argument or narrative. To give fair and impartial analysis of this period of history, contrasted against the contents of these sources, it is necessary for a serious historian to discuss (in more than just an aside) the numerous issues concerning the authenticity, authorship, biases, known forgeries and date of the original writings- as well as known internal inconsistencies before offering them in the same context as known (and historically credible) historical documents available through Roman and non-Roman sources. This is my chief complaint about the book. Otherwise I would have given it an overall rating of 4 stars.

10 people found this helpful

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Great book, narrated to perfection.

An amazing book by the best historian on Roman culture and society governance and military. Derek Perkins flawlessly executes the narration of this book with proper pronunciation!

I can't get enough Adrian Goldsworthy, a phenomenal writer and historian in this book just adds to his already great collection. Pax Romana goes into huge detail all about Roman culture society governance and military and how that provided peace and safety for the empire. yet Adrian Goldsworthy does not sugarcoat how that happened and that the Roman Empire was not interested in providing peace as much as it was providing for itself.

1 person found this helpful

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A worthwhile addition to any library

I was dissapointed not to find more on agriculture. The entire Roman empire was made possible by agricultual surpluses and almost all residents in Roman lands were producing food. Were the people better fed clothed and shelterred as a result of the imperium? I remember one paper that mentioned rural people grew taller and more healthy after Rome itself was reduced from 500,000 to 50,000 population. More food available to those who produced it?

1 person found this helpful

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Very Interesting!

If you could sum up Pax Romana in three words, what would they be?

I am glad there are writers like Adrian Goldsworthy for Roman history to read . Very interesting and well narrated as well, so makes it a pleasure to listen to .

2 people found this helpful

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Superb analysis of Roman "peace"

The author is wonderfully informative of the details of Roman history. His conclusion is equally well balanced and judicious. I already heard it twice and will listen and learn from it again.

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Fantastic author perfectly narrated!

Adrian Goldsworthy is a splendid historian in that he sacrifices neither fact nor entertainment. He includes what is essential and he identifies for his readers where evidence is lacking. Derek Perkins must love to read Goldsworthy, and I can’t say how much I love his lack of unnecessary or excessive drama. Bravo!!!

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Great Book

If you like the story of the Roman late Republic to high Empire, this is a fantastic book. Goldsworthy goes into sufficient detail of certain subjects without getting lost in the minutiae. And as always, Derek Perkins is phenomenal.

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Excellent work but narrative structure not ideal

For audio. The way it jumps around outside of chronology isn't optimal for listening purposes