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The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 1-6 (Everyman's Library) Slp Rep Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0307700766
ISBN-10: 0307700763
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'A masterpiece of historical penetration and style.' - Printing and the Mind of Man

'I can recollect no historical work from which I have received so much instruction ... It is a work of very high merit indeed.' - William Robertson --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Everyman's Library
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library; Slp Rep edition (December 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307700763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307700766
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 12.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • Due to this item's unusual size or weight, it requires special handling and will ship separately from other items in your order. Read More

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There are books; there are great books; and then there are books that change everything - that test you and change you and impact you permanently and profoundly. Homer, Shakespeare, Dickens...those sorts of authors shake you and challenge you to grow. Gibbon, deservedly considered one the fathers of modern history and the historical method, ranks among those authors. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire displays a fine example of literary genius, representing some of the very best humanity has to offer.

If, faced with the extinction of the human race and the loss of all things we've learned throughout our history, the lone survivors were bequeathed a top ten list of written works aimed at condensing human thought and evolution into the most valuable lessons and wisdom of the ages in the interest of providing the surest and most beneficial foundation for starting anew, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire should be in it. Yes, its that important and that good.

Aptly titled, Gibbon explains not only the historical nuts and bolts of what happened when but more importantly why. As incredibly ambitious as it is valuable, Gibbon traces the history of Rome's demise from its height (around the 1st century) to/through the dark/middle ages (to around 1500A.D.), giving a sweeping and astonishing view of a period of our history that still has no equal.

Gibbon not only shows us Rome; for those willing to look he holds a mirror before humanity...shows us who we are, largely where we came from, emboldens our virtues and warns us of our vices, and shows that while the context and names may change, the essential core of issues human beings face remains the same.
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56 Comments 234 of 237 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I will append a single proviso to my five-star rating: to enjoy this book, you will need a somewhat decent command of the English language and the capacity to unpack dense meaning. Gibbon's prose, to my mind, is almost without par; however, it is very much written in the Enlightenment style, which was more complex than what we accustomed to from today's workman-like scribblers. Therefore, if you dislike long, complicated sentences, it's probable that you won't enjoy this work. Also if you're a teenager, I might suggest you perhaps start with someone like Will Durant, who has a nice style of his own, but is much easier for the youngsters to comprehend. Unless you're a whizz kid, then by all means jump on this immediately.

Perhaps a representative passage will get my point across:

"Of the various forms of government which have prevailed in the world, an hereditary monarchy presents the fairest scope for ridicule. Is it possible to relate without an indignant smile, that, on the father’s decease, the property of a nation, like that of a drove of oxen, descends to his infant son, as yet unknown to mankind and to himself, and that the bravest warriors and the wisest statesmen, relinquishing their natural right to empire, approach the royal cradle with bended knees and protestations of inviolable fidelity? Satire and declamation may paint these obvious topics in the most dazzling colours, but our more serious thoughts will respect a useful prejudice, that establishes a rule of succession, independent of the passions of mankind; and we shall cheerfully acquiesce in any expedient which deprives the multitude of the dangerous, and indeed the ideal, power of giving themselves a master.
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Format: Hardcover
I echo the comments of the other reviewer. This is a very ambitious read, but it is rewarding both in terms of its timeless historical content, but also Gibbon's prose, which reads like poetry at times. The books themselves are quite beautiful. For various reasons I have read volumes 1-3 twice, and am only now making my way through volumes 4-6. The final three volumes cover around 1000 years, while the first three cover around 500 years, so the pace necessarily picks up in the final three volumes. Gibbon (for good reason) spends a lot of time on the reign of Justinian, so the Byzantine era is actually compressed even more in volumes five and six.

There are many other good books about the time period covered by Gibbon, but I can't imagine having an interest in this era and not reading The Decline and Fall. It remains essential, centuries after it was written.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Beautiful formatting. It is the most beautiful kindle version on the market. I tried several versions and settled down on this one.
1 Comment 12 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
In physical terms this is a beautiful hardback set that is affordable. It takes pride of place in my personal library although I do occasionally view antiquarian bookshops on the internet and would like to one day purchase a nice leather bound 18th or 19th century set of volumes. Gibbon's original volumes appeared between 1776 and 1788 so it took him great time and effort to produce this work and no wonder! It was a mammoth undertaking and there's no doubt he achieved in literary terms an epic masterpiece that is unrivalled not only in this genre but in any. The work is obviously an important historical one but Gibbon has a wonderful way of telling a story with a range that is sometimes philosophic and at times humorous. There is a terrific supply of footnotes throughout and this edition is the best modern one available.
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The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 1-6 (Everyman's Library)
This item: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 1-6 (Everyman's Library)
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