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The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (The Princeton History of the Ancient World) by [Harper, Kyle]
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The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (The Princeton History of the Ancient World) Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews

Review

One of Medium.com’s Books of the Year 2017

One of The Times Literary Supplement’s Books of the Year 2017

One of the Forbes.com “Great Anthropology and History Books of 2017” (chosen by Kristina Killgrove)

One of The Federalist’s Notable Books for 2017

Honorable Mention for the 2018 PROSE Award in Classics, Association of American Publishers

I read a lot of history in my spare time, and as best I can tell modern scholarship is telling us that Rome really was something special. What I learned from Peter Temin, and at greater length from Kyle Harper, was that Rome wasn’t your ordinary pre-industrial economy. . . . Harper notes that Rome was held back in some ways by a heavy burden of disease, an unintentional byproduct of urbanization and trade that a society lacking the germ theory had no way to alleviate. But still, the Romans really did achieve remarkable things on the economic front.---Paul Krugman, New York Times

Original and ambitious. . . . [Harper] provide[s] a panoramic sweep of the late Roman Empire as interpreted by one historian's incisive, intriguing, inquiring mind.---James Romm, Wall Street Journal

Ingenious, persuasive. . . . Lucidly argued. (Publishers Weekly)

A view of the fall of Rome from a different angle, looking beyond military and social collapse to man's relationship to the environment. There is much to absorb in this significant scholarly achievement, which effectively integrates natural, social, and humanistic sciences. (Kirkus)

[A] sweeping retelling of the rise and fall of an empire, [that] was brought down as much by ‘germs as by Germans.'---Keith Johnson, Foreign Policy

From the Back Cover

"This is the story of a great civilization's long struggle with invisible enemies. In the empire's heyday, in 160 CE, splendid cities, linked by famous roads and bustling harbors, stand waiting for the lethal pathogens of Central Africa and the highlands of Tibet. Yet, under the flickering light of a variable sun, beneath skies alternately veiled in volcanic dust or cruelly rainless, this remarkable agglomeration of human beings held firm. Harper's account of how the inhabitants of the empire and their neighbors adjusted to these disasters is as humane as his account of the risks they faced is chilling. Brilliantly written, at once majestic and compassionate, this is truly great history."--Peter Brown, author of Through the Eye of a Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350–550 AD

"In this riveting history, Kyle Harper shows that disease and environmental conditions were not just instrumental in the final collapse of the Roman Empire but were serious problems for centuries before the fall. Harper's compelling and cautionary tale documents the deadly plagues, fevers, and other pestilences that ravaged the population time and again, resulting in far more deaths than ever caused by enemy forces. One wonders how the empire managed to last as long as it did."--Eric H. Cline, author of 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed

"This brilliant, original, and stimulating book puts nature at the center of a topic of major importance--the fall of the Roman Empire--for the first time. Harper's argument is compelling and thoroughly documented, his presentation lively and robust."--Peter Garnsey, coauthor of The Roman Empire: Economy, Society, and Culture

"Kyle Harper's extraordinary new account of the fall of Rome is a gripping and terrifying story of the interaction between human behavior and systems, pathogens and climate change. The Roman Empire was a remarkable connector of people and things--in towns and cities, through voluntary and enforced migration, and through networks of trade across oceans and continents--but this very connectedness fostered infectious diseases that debilitated its population. Though the protagonists of Harper’s book are nonhuman, their effects on human lives and societies are nonetheless devastating."--Emma Dench, author of Romulus’ Asylum: Roman Identities from the Age of Alexander to the Age of Hadrian

"Kyle Harper is a Gibbon for the twenty-first century. In this very important book, he reveals the great lesson that the decline and fall of the Roman Empire can teach our own age: that humanity can manipulate nature, but never defeat it. Sic transit gloria mundi."--Ian Morris, author of Why the West Rules--for Now

"The Fate of Rome is a breakthrough in the study of the Roman world--intrepid, innovative, even revolutionary."--Walter Scheidel, The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century

"Kyle Harper’s The Fate of Rome illuminates with a strong new light the entirety of Roman history, by focusing relentlessly on the ups and downs of the Roman coexistence with the microorganisms that influenced every aspect of their lives in powerful ways, while themselves being conditioned by what the Romans did, and failed to do. Others, including myself, have devoted pages to the impact of the greatest epidemics in our books. We missed what happened in between. Harper does not, and the result is a book that is fascinating as well as instructive."--Edward N. Luttwak, author of The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire

"Kyle Harper’s The Fate of Rome illuminates with a strong new light the entirety of Roman history by focusing relentlessly on what the Romans did and failed to do about the microorganisms that influenced every aspect of their lives in powerful ways. Others, including myself, have devoted pages in our books to the impact of the greatest epidemics. We missed what happened in between. Harper does not, and the result is a book that is fascinating as well as very instructive."--Edward N. Luttwak, author of The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire

"Learned, lively, and up-to-date, this is far and away the best account of the ecological and environmental dimensions of the history of the Roman Empire."--J. R. McNeill, author of Something New under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World


Product details

  • File Size: 26471 KB
  • Print Length: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 2, 2017)
  • Publication Date: October 2, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B071SLPWVL
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,828 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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November 25, 2017
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