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Edward Gibbon
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The History of the Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire 2

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4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  311 ratings  ·  18 reviews
"Its theme is the most overwhelming phenomenon in recorded history #151; the disintegration not of a nation, but of an old and rich and apparently indestructible civilization." #151;Moses Hadas, editor.
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Published (first published 1781)
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Lotz
As I’ve already written two panegyric reviews of Gibbon, I’ll keep this one short. In fact, I only want to say something briefly about prose style.

Anyone who peruses a few books on writing will notice some similarities. We are advised to write short sentences, to use simple words, and generally to be direct and terse. In On Writing, Stephen King urges the potential writer to entirely eschew adverbs. In On Writing Well, William Zinsser has this to say: “Among good writers it is the short sentence
...more
Justin Evans
Ah, the paradoxes of contemporary publishing: Gibbon is generally divided into three books, with two 'volumes' per book; here we have volumes three and four. That makes perfectly good sense, on the one hand, since six books would be very expensive and two books would each be unwieldy. However, due to that publishing decision, this book is broken backed: it combines the last volume of the first series. Volume three ends with Gibbon's 'General Observations on the Fall of the Roman Empire in the We ...more
Individualfrog
In this volume we find what, I assume, most people expect out of a book called "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire": waves of invasions by Goths, Huns, and Vandals, the city of Rome plundered, and the Western empire disintegrated. It's action-packed, although not always when or how you expect.

The beginning of the volume is dominated by Gibbon's favorite, the heroic Julian the Apostate, whose pointless but exciting campaign in Persia is related with uncharacteristic detail and thrills; the
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Radu-cristian Ionita
Although the author is one of the first which focuses on the history of the Late Roman Empire and does so with great insight, his approach on the history of the Byzantine Empire is deeply biased and therefore not suited for the specialist or the history buff who would like to learn more about this period and this state. He regards the Byzantine Empire as a creation of the malevolent, cowardly and effeminate Greeks who perverted the values promoted by the Roman Empire. He misses completely to ack ...more
Frank O'donnell
Still a strong narrative, although not quite of the same calibre as the first volume. Gibbon's exploration of early Christianity manages to maintain a veneer of an impartial recording of facts in the first volume, but it unnecessarily continues and descends here into an incoherent, almost whiny series of criticisms of every perceived internal inconsistency and compromise of the early religion, and also at the cost of narrative flow. This is also a level of mocking scrutiny that he fails to apply ...more
Carlos Burga
I continue to be impressed with Gibbon’s ability to relate what is quoted as the most numbing part of western history with a grace and grandeur that is not only engaging but intoxicating for the reader. Throughout this second volume, Gibbon is able to once again tell both sides of the story; that which the Christian posterity emphasizes and that which takes into account the Empire as a whole.
Throughout Gibbon’s description of the reign and posterity of Constantine, he is able to show not just C
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M Pereira
I wish I could have something profound to say about this book. But it's really long and there are so many details that just pass me by without really understanding it. I quite enjoy the way that Gibbon goes over many different aspects of Roman History. Particularly the role of Christianity, trade, military engagements and of course, Roman Britain.

My classics teacher (who looked and dressed like Indiana Jones) once quoted someone who taught him saying that Roman Britain is the arsehole end of an
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Lindsey
He spent far too much time on the development of the Arian Heresy and what happened to Athanasius for my taste. Yeah, it's important for the empire, but not as important as he thinks. And before starting these, I never realized how much Gibbon associated the history of Christianity with the Roman Empire. They are intertwined, but we spent half the book on the Arian Heresy and Athanasius. More time was spent on them than any of the barbarian wars at the edge of the empire, than on the wars with P ...more
Bryan
My goal is to read 100 books this year. I thought about calling it halfway through this book and getting a new hobby. But I stopped, took stock and a deep breath, and finished it. I'm glad I did. This book is dense yet rewarding. The subject is interesting and Gibbon is a master story teller. All my heroes have read The Decline and Fall -Truman, Churchill, Richard Russell (notwithstanding his civil rights stance)- and I'm going to read it too. I can't give it anything less than 5 stars because i ...more
Alex Milledge
A long and arduous read, but I still think its interesting. In this book, the Roman Empire makes a transition to not being the true Western Roman Empire, and focused mainly on the eastern half, because the western half was no longer. I think that the end of western half of the empire was technically the end of the Roman Empire. Make your arguments and cast your bids on the Eastern half, but the Eastern half became the Byzantines after a while. I do not believe that Justinian could be considered ...more
Avi
I'm beginning to realize that a book about the "decline and fall" of the Roman Empire spends equal time discussing the Roman Empire and Christianity.
Alexis
6: well written, but not much of a page turner.
Joe
Another thousand pages from the end of the 4th century to the early 7th. The comparisons between Roman decline (with its Patrician classes willing to let the country go to the dogs whilst taking every opportunity to enrich themselves and secure placement, as the edifice crumbles around them) and our own era are too delicious to ignore. I particularly enjoy Gibbon’s scorn; he’s an 18th century man through and through.

Steve
Another 800 years of human greatness and human folly, reason and superstition. There is no doubt that this is one of the true classics both of Western History and Literature. I should have read it 40 years ago, but I probably would not have appreciated or understood Gibbon at that point in my life. Now it is at the top of my list.
Roy
WOW finished it at last . It was a chore to get through but there is one more to go and I have to wait awhile to tackle it . In the meantime I will read another book , one with a bit less killing in it . Thanks
Galicius
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kent
Not this edition, actually.
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Edward Gibbon (8 May 1737 – 16 January 1794) was an English historian and Member of Parliament. His most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788. The Decline and Fall is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its open criticism of organised religion.

Gibbon returned to England
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More about Edward Gibbon...
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume I The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume III The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 1-3: Volumes 1, 2, 3 History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 6 vols

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