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Publisher's Summary

What really marked the end of the Roman Empire? Was it a long, inevitable decay, or did real people make real choices with surprising and unintended effects?The Ruin of the Roman Empire takes us back to the sixth century, into the lives, cultures, and events that influenced ancient Rome. James O'Donnell restores the reputations of many "barbarians", while showing that Rome's last emperors doomed their realm with the hapless ways in which they tried to restore and preserve it.Sweeping and accessible, The Ruin of the Roman Empire captures the richness of late antique life and the colorful characters of the age, while offering insight into today's debates about barbarism, religion, empires, and their threatened borders.
©2008 James J. O'Donnell; (P)2008 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"An exotic and instructive tale, told with life, learning and just the right measure of laughter on every page. O'Donnell combines a historian's mastery of substance with a born storyteller's sense of style to create a magnificent work of art. Perfect for history-lovers and admirers of great writing alike." (Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Ursula on 11-04-08

Even the narrator seems bored silly

My high hopes for this book were soon dashed. The author jumps around in time. Things don't flow. The narrator pronounces words correctly but drones...he seems to plod through the text, making an otherwise confusing book unbearable.

The author promises to tie things together by the end, but I've lost patience.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful


By J1Scarlett on 10-27-08

Would not Recommend

Very dry and boring. And I thought it skipped around a little too much. I have always loved learning about ancient history, and as a Classics major in college I spent 4 years in boring lectures, but this was just too much for me.

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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