In the Monty Python film Life of Brian, a member of the People's Front of Judea asks, "What have the Romans ever done for us?" (apart from, of course, the "sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health"). The director of that movie—and now popular historian—Jones (Who Murdered Chaucer?), along with Ereira (The People's England), now answer the question: a bit, but nowhere near as much as the barbarians did. Jones attempts to overturn the popular conception of the glorious Roman Empire, which he says is mostly propaganda, and claims that the barbarians—a general term describing the tribes of western and northern Europe, as well as of the Middle East—have for too long been slandered as "savages" by the allegedly more advanced and civilized Romans and their descendants. In fact, these assorted Celts, Vandals, Persians and Goths were technologically, economically and intellectually sophisticated, but were on the wrong side of history. While scholars will sniff at Jones's offhand humor, somewhat wide-eyed "revelations"—which have been revealed before—and tendency to believe the vastly exaggerated death tolls of the time (he relies on Plutarch's figure that Julius Caesar slaughtered a million Gauls, a virtually impossible feat), readers will go along for a most enjoyable ride and appreciate his fascinating tale of the barbarians' lost world. 24 pages of color photos, maps. (Sept. 15)
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"I wish all historical books written by nonhistorians were so informed, and all books by historians so well written." —Dr. Walter Pohl, head of the Institute for Medieval History Research, Vienna Academy of SciencesSee all Editorial Reviews
Much different take on European history, Roman and the others living there. Opens many new avenues on Goths, Visigoths and even Huns.Published 6 days ago by GKN
Well crafted, well researched and excellent read. History is always more complicated than we first think, and the story we get always needs amplification. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kyle Lerfald
Great read! Fun to learn about what was going on as Rome was falling. The migrations of so many different peoples around the Old World. Highly recommend.Published 2 months ago by Paul Beck
Well written and backed by copious research. Thorough and very easy to read. A witty and well developed history of Rome the way it really happened.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is an enjoyable read as a fictional historical novel. It gives us many insights.Published 13 months ago by Hubba
I like to read history books. I find it entertaining and enlightening, and can't get enough.
The subtitle indicated that this was an alternative history. Read more
The Romans were insane. This book is amazing as a resource to learn about who the so-called Barbarians were and how they lived. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Peter Bauer
A great review of little known facts. I highly recommend this book. A great read. Will change much of what you thought you knew.Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer