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"An amiable and learned companion through the centuries of migrations."-Library Journal
"An awesomely ambitious work: an attempt, in the heroic tradition of Pirenne, to make sense of nothing less than the reshaping of antiquity, and the origins of modern Europe.... Heather is a wonderfully fluent writer, with a consistent ability to grab hold of his reader's attention.... The result is a book which richly merits reading by those interested in the future of Europe as well as its past."--Tom Holland, BBC History Magazine
"Most immediately impressive is Heather's easy command of detail. A jaunty, man of the people prose style masks a sure and scholarly grip on the history and archaeology of the first millenniem A.D. One of Heather's most attractive strengths is his eye for comparision. He neatly sets his thinking about first-millennium migration against modern experiences of the lure of the New World or the desperate flight of Kosovar or Rwandan refugees."--Christopher Kelly, Literary Review
"Peter Heather's book is an important contribution to the field--the first up-to-date book that compares the Germanic and the Slav migrations of the early middle ages. It is lucid and it has a complex argument, but it is grippingly written."--Chris Wickham, author of The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400-1000
"This is a major work on the political and ethnic shaping of Europe during the first millennium A.D., embracing not just the Germanic and sub-Roman peoples, but also the Slavs and the Vikings. No one interested in the formation of European states and identities will be able to ignore this book."--Bryan Ward-Perkins, author of The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization
"Impressive in its ambition and its scope."-The New Yorker
"Heather manages to robustly balance the need for both breadth and depth. A superior piece of scholarship."-DiscoverMagazine.com
"While ambitious in scope, one of the delightful aspects of this hefty volume is its eminent readability. Heather's writing is often playful in style. This conversational and sometimes humorous tone, combined with a knack for explaining complex ideas clearly, belies the complexity of his argument and the sheer amount of information conveyed." -Laura Wangerin, World History Bulletin
"In addition to offering a new way of looking at the broad trends of European history, Heather also makes a major contribution to a long-standing debate about the role of migration in the first millenniumEL[Empire and Barbarians'] range, its highly important themes, and the boldness and clarity of its writing should stimulate argument and advance debate for years to come." -Edward James, American Historical Review
"Empires and Barbarians is a significant accomplishment and a welcome gateway for the curious as well as the deeply informed." --HNN.com
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Top Customer Reviews
If I might be so bold as to summarize what I see to be the author's central theme: Heather believes that the wealth of the Roman Empire quite naturally flowed into the lands beyond the Empire's border (through trade, if nothing else), that increase in wealth inevitably resulting in social inequalities and complexities in those neighboring cultures. This new wealth permitted some individuals to assemble small bands of elite warriors that permitted those individuals to amass even more wealth and gain additional stature (and possibly raid within the Empire to seize even more wealth).Read more ›
I have my Master's Degree in ancient history and studying the Fall of the Roman Empire is one of my favorite topics to study within Classical Europe. I must say this is a powerful book and would recommend it to anyone who ponders the "fall" of the Roman Empire. It is antithetical to the rather popular theory that the Roman Empire "transformed" (i.e., Professor Peter Brown) rather than fell eventhough that theory has some very powerful insights as well. I would also recommend this book in conjunction with Brian Ward-Perkins, "The Fall of the Roman Empire and the Death of a Civilization" as well as any other of Peter Heather's books!!
There is one problem with the book, however.
There are several references in the book to Plates for illustrations accompanying the text.
There is even a page with picture acknowledgements.
BUT, except for the the addended maps, there is not a single illustration in the entire book!
I searched for the title on the OUP website and found the following:
Empires and Barbarians
The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe
Hardback, 752 pages
The volume in my posession has only 734 pages!
Does everyone else who has read the book have the same problem? Or do I somehow have the British edition dressed in American clothing? Still, why reference illustrations if there aren't any?
Of particular note is the analysis of the veracity of Roman source materials and the melding of archaeological evidence with these sources. This is a marriage of source materials not often seen conducted with such effect. They significantly enhance the credibility of Mr. Heather's analysis.
I also noticed the same issue concerning references to plates that another reviewer found. Although plates are mentioned, they do not exist in the book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book, thanks! Helps me understand our region (Baltics and Scandinavia) history in Roman and post-Roman context. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Aivars Junga
Exceedingly readable, this book hits just the right level of detail.Published 2 months ago by bill faulkner
Liked how it was written and how it incorporated the different tribes.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Does this author not have an editor, evidently not. He spends to much talk discussing current trends in history, giving voice to all competitive views. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dennis Dean
Very well researched and factually quite dense. The book, however, suffers from lack of a clear narrative, and long and complex sentence structure.Published 5 months ago by Jonathan Levy
I tried but couldn't get far in this book. While the author obviously knows his subject very well and is an outstanding scholar, the book is simply not readable as it presents... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ron Hallman
This answered a lot of questions I had. It also gave a lot of insight into migration I didn't realize. Very pertinent for the US todayPublished 6 months ago by Peter K
The book is NOT for the casual reader. But the points all start to sink in after a while even if you can't keep all the names straight. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Patricia Mutkoski
This is a very interesting history of the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire, but OMG is it looooong and repetitive. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Crystal Davis