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Examining a period of world (european) history (late antiquity throughout the middle ages) crucial to the understanding of western civilization, this book is a treasure. Edward Gibbon, drawing from various sources, most of them contemporary of the facts it exposes, traces the history of the Roman Empire in the west and in the east. Along the way, he discuss christianity, the Roman Catholic Church, the crusades, the beginning of the Muslim faith and the advent of the Ottoman Empire. The successive battles between the romans and the barbarian are explained in a way that one understands the facts that underline the formation of modern european states. The author is not shy in declining his views about the events, with renders the book even more fascinating. An enlightening reading!
30 of 30 people found this review helpful
Some chapters were dryer than others, but overall an incredible listen, especially when you consider that it was written over 200 years ago!
After an overview of the time it begins in depth with Emperor Commodus and goes through the fall of the Eastern Empire to the Turks. That's over 1200 years! Of course it doesn't just look at the Roman Empire, but Gibbon also explains the sparks of areas around the empire that lead to flames within. If you don't mind listening for a long time (it took me about 4 months), this is definitely worth it.
My only gripe is that I didn't have any maps to help me visualize some more obscure areas being talked about (of course there's nothing to be done about that since it's an audiobook). The issue is easily remedied with a pause and Google search.
20 of 20 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I would to anyone who like Roman history this much (120 + hours). It is not for the faint-hearted.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire?
All the characters (and we are talking hundreds) are depicted in such depth, with this acute, sharp self-assured moral judgement of the 18th century. Gibbons made us feel he had the chance to observe them for long hours and days before he formed his opinion. Theses characters' depiction were my favourite parts by far.
Have you listened to any of Charlton Griffin’s other performances? How does this one compare?
Never heared any other performance but the narrator is truly fantastic. He has the perfect voice and tone to transfigure the complexity and sophistication of 18th century writing style to restitute with strength and clarity the meaning of the text and the personality of the author. You feel like Gibbons is talking to you, that after years and years of studies and reading, he finally delivers to you the pared down, quintessential truth of many years of reflexion about centuries of history. The long sentences, complex structures, the narrator always turns them to his advantage to make them easily understood by the listener, carrying their gravitas without falling into mannierism. This audiobook made me realize that 18th century writing lends itself beautifully to orality (while we could actually find the reading quite arduous and complext)Truly, I have never been more impressed by a narrator. Charlton Griffin truly adds a lot to this audiobook and to Gibbons' work.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
120+ hours, even with the best of enthusiasm ... It took me 2 months.
Any additional comments?
It is a superproduction of very high quality. A massive piece of literature, a very well-produced audiobook and the best narrator possible.
29 of 30 people found this review helpful
Where does The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Definitely the longest, by some significant margin.
What other book might you compare The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to, and why?
Nothing to compare this to. Magnificent in scope and ambition - much like the empire itself.
What do you think the narrator could have done better?
American pronunciations from a very British speaker was a bit odd. Narration was a bit slow for me and was actually much more listenable when played at twice normal speed.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful