How Rome Fell

  • by Adrian Goldsworthy
  • Narrated by Derek Perkins
  • 18 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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. 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. 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 greater good of the state.

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What the Critics Say

"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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The tragic story of the fall of a great empire

What made the experience of listening to How Rome Fell the most enjoyable?

How comprehensive the story was. It began before Commodus and went past 476. This emphasized how the fall was not in a vacuum nor was it necessarily a true, catastrophic collapse.


What did you like best about this story?

It continually emphasized the facts instead of wide held societal beliefs. Each supposed cause of the fall of the Roman empire was examined and preconceived notions where attacked and discarded. It is very balanced and reasonable.


What does Derek Perkins bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

As with all my reviews of his work, he is an excellent narrator who can really bring the story to life.


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

They said it was un-filmable, and they where right


Any additional comments?

If you want a general overview of the narrative and potential causes of Rome's dissolution, this is an excellent source

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- Ryan

he's got me convinced!

Would you listen to How Rome Fell again? Why?

Yes, and I might do that. I've read or listened to several recent books on this question, and Goldsworthy's argument is compelling. If every time you have a change of government, you have a devastating, depopulating civil war, and you have changes of government all the time, then it seems that you don't have to go very far to find out why Rome fell.Goldsworthy is really good at marshaling the evidence and not going beyond.


Who was your favorite character and why?

I did not have a favorite character.


Which character – as performed by Derek Perkins – was your favorite?

Derek Perkins is a fine narrator. I should add that I am not extraordinarily fastidious in that regard.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no, it is too long.


Any additional comments?

Goldsworthy is an excellent writer with fine analytical skills. He also wrote a terrific book on Julius Caesar, Life of a Colossus.

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- Red_Moon

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-30-2014
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio