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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Adrian Goldsworthy Narrator: Derek Perkin Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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. In his account of the fall of the Roman Empire, prizewinning author Adrian Goldsworthy examines the painful centuries of the superpower’s decline. Bringing history to life through the stories of the men, women, heroes, and villains involved, the author uncovers surprising lessons about the rise and fall of great nations.

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. Goldsworthy pays particular attention to the willingness of Roman soldiers to fight and kill each other.

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 wider good of the state.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Goldsworthy gives a vivid account…[that] tells us clearly and well—and without attempts at literary majesty—about the series of events that brought Rome’s western empire to a state of collapse.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Clearly and powerfully articulated.”

    Telegraph (London)

  • “Goldsworthy asserts that…it was civil war and paranoia that destroyed the empire from within…How Rome Fell speeds both the casual and Rome-savvy reader through 400 years of tumultuous and world-changing history.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Weaves a compelling narrative that has enough new research to keep even well seasoned ‘Romanphiles’ satisfied.”

    Washington Times

  • “[A] masterful survey.”

    New Criterion

  • “On a more profound level, Goldsworthy has depicted the grim process by which the Res Publica, the common good of the Roman many, was sacrificed for the self-preservation of the Imperial few, leading in due course to the destruction of all.”

    California Literary Review

  • “[A] level of scholarship, analysis, and lucid prose…makes sense of 300 years of poorly documented wars, murders, and political scheming. Highly opinionated, he presents surviving documents and archeological evidence to back his views…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 (starred review)

  • “Derek Perkins brings just the right note of erudition and modernity to this daunting subject…He achieves a fine rendition of this superb writer’s measured, impartial tone. Here, without the benefit of a central focusing figure like Caesar or Augustus, the narrator’s own pace and focus must fill in the gap, and Perkins finds his thread, as Goldsworthy does, in our own knowledge and understanding of the great empire whose language, artifacts, and institutions—and collapse—still shape our world today.”


  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for May 2009
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