Famous for its unflagging narrative power, fine organization, and irresistibly persuasive arguments, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has earned a permanent place of honor in historical literature. Gibbon's elegantly detached erudition is seasoned with an ironic wit, and remarkably little of his work is outdated.This second volume covers A.D. 395 to A.D. 1185, from the reign of Justinian in the East to the establishment of the German Empire of the West. It recounts the desperate attempts to hold off the barbarians, palace revolutions and assassinations, theological controversy, and lecheries and betrayals, all in a setting of phenomenal magnificence.
"[Gibbon] stood on the summit of the Renaissance achievement and looked back over the waste of history to ancient Rome, as from one mountain top to another." (Christopher Dawson)
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Brilliant in parts, excellent in Most.
Enormously Important, Fataly Flawed Delivery
This is obviously one of the most important western works of literature, and should be on the list of every serious reader. Unfortunately there are several major flaws with this rendition.
First and foremost, this is a very very poor, almost unlistenable recording. It is either very old and uncared for or it was just plain technically poor when recorded. Unless you have a tin ear it will be excruciating to endure it for long.
Second the reader has a very thick British accent and peculiar annunciation and timing. This, combined with the imperceptible mumbling lows and over modulated highs make this an unbearable recording.
Yet somehow, the absolute brilliance of the writing comes through.
It's just that it is so enormously fatiguing that I was unable to finish it.