The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An essential, if thoroughly labored, rundown of the myriad factors that toppled the Jenga tower that was the Roman Empire, Gibbon's long-winded, dry tome dutifully lays out a compelling narrative.
Sorting through mountains of fact, fiction and conjecture to delve at a semblance of the truth, Gibbon explains how a combination of inner strife, the spread of Christianity and Muslim and marauding barbarians created a headwind that blew the whole house down.
Coloring barely-known characters with intriguing anecdotes while cutting away the noise to get at the truth of such figures as Nero, Gibbon accomplishes an authoritative work that bears significant warnings for the American political-cultural empire to heed.
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