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The Fall of the Roman Empire

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  48 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
What caused the fall of Rome? Since Gibbon's day scholars have hotly debated the question & come up with the answers ranging from blood poisoning to immorality. In recent years, however, the most likely explanation has been neglected: wasn't it above all else a military collapse? Prof. Ferrill believes it was, & puts forth his case in this provocative book.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 28th 1988 by Thames & Hudson (first published 1986)
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Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
I read a book in the 70s (the excellent "Unless Peace Comes") in which the author reminded us that when a civilisation ends, an empire falls or a man loses everything then for that civilisation, empire or man it literally is the end of the world. For the Poles I grew up around, the Poland they knew ceased to exist on September 17th when the Soviets invaded a Poland engaged in a struggle for survival with the Nazis. The Poland that came into existence after the war was a totally different one wit ...more
Nov 25, 2012 Greg rated it really liked it
Read this a supplementary reading for Yale's Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy. The basic thrust of this book it to get down to the detail as to why the Western Empire collapsed from a military perspective. It boils down to:

1. A shift from perimeter defense to a mobile strike force (cheaper to maintain) which allowed barbarians to invade and settle on the Roman side of the Danube and Rhine.

2. Barbarization of the Roman army. By the end of the 4th Century, the Roman army was a shadow of its
Erik Graff
May 22, 2014 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Roman history fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
This book is a self-conscious defense of the thesis that the Western Roman Empire fell primarily as a consequence of the degeneration of its military against all comers. This collapse, Ferrill goes on to specify, was primarily a result of the 'barbarization' of the Roman army, their prior successes being substantially the result of maintaining (a) a superior infantry--the result of drill and discipline, (b) superior systems of supply, (c) superior siegecraft & (d) naval superiority. The barb ...more
Paul Gier
Aug 11, 2013 Paul Gier rated it liked it
It was a bit repetitive and sometimes hard to follow because of jumping around in the timeline. Overall it seems to provide a strong case that the Western Roman empire collapsed primarily because of a decline in the quality of the military due to incorporating the Visigoths and later other barbarians.
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