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HISTORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE COMPLETE VOLUMES 1 - 6 [Deluxe Annotated & Illustrated Edition] by [Gibbon, Edward]
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HISTORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE COMPLETE VOLUMES 1 - 6 [Deluxe Annotated & Illustrated Edition] Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Length: 4945 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 12916 KB
  • Print Length: 4945 pages
  • Publisher: Northpointe Classics (February 15, 2009)
  • Publication Date: February 15, 2009
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BFFY6T0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,688 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By Susan M. Ames on April 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
this is the second time I have read this amazing history. This time, however, I have read it in tandem with the Cambridge Medieval History and lots of Wikipedia links. The thing that impresses me is how accurate Gibbon was 200 years ago and Bury, even with his updates, 100 years ago. If you want to understand the basis of much of our Constitution (freedom of religion, right to bear arms, right to a speedy trial, etc etc) these are good for thought. Both books also give a longterm perspective that one might otherwise not have regarding governments, and the reasons civilizations collapse, and how we all got to where we are today. Not easy reading, but important for people who really want to know "stuff."
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
All my life I have heard this work referred to with reverence, but hardly met anyone who confessed to having read it. Deep into the first volume, I am convinced that the reverence was not misplaced. The scope and richness of detail is wonderful and the notes and commentary by subsequent editors is both enlightening and reassuring.

However, in another sense the reverence over the years has been misleading. It turns out that Gibbon is not only a very learned scholar but also a great writer, easy to read and from time to time quite funny. He also employs a multi-disciplinary approach that strikes me as remarkably sophisticated for someone writing in the 18th Century.

This methodological characteristic serves to amplify one other aspect of Gibbon's work: the currency of much that he reports. What he has to say about the balance of powers of the political class, military elites, and people in the streets sounds remarkably relevant to what I read, much less eloquently expressed, in the daily press.

Back to the future!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This rating and review is focused solely on the Kindle formatting, since Gibbon's work is an unquestionable gem of a classic. I began my journey by obtaining a copy of volume 1 offered for free through Amazon. The free version offered none of the footnotes, so it presented as an uninterrupted, though possibly incomplete, read. When I was ready to move to volume 2, Amazon had been forced to withdraw the free edition due to formatting issues. Forced to choose another edition to continue reading, I selected this one, given a low price and a complete edition of all six volumes. The big difference? This contains all the footnotes, both Gibbon's and those of later editors of Gibbon. Is this beneficial? It depends on what you want. Many are in Latin, which I don't read. Even references to "contemporary" analysts are at least 200 years old. More importantly, the footnotes are not interactive; they present a block of Gibbon's text, followed by the associated notes. This means you cannot experience a continuous read. But it delineates the difference in different editions of the same work at varying price points. Free is good, but stripped of all but the essential text. Economical editions provided full text, but in a manner unsuitable for serious students and researchers. I expect that costlier editions would have searchable, interactive notes. This, of course, is the response to those who claim that public domain items should be free: you get what you pay for.

Update:
Still plowing through this (94% complete), but found a couple of oddities a buyer should be aware of. This edition skips Part IV of Chapter LXVIII. This serves to highlight the failings of the semi-active table of contents. D and F should probably have three hundred chapters, but Gibbon prefers to chop each chapter into multiple "parts," something this edition's table of contents ignores. As for missing one of the parts, these things even out. They duplicated one part somewhere in the middle.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Kindle edition is pretty good, with footnotes placed very close to the text to which they refer. There are two sets of notes, Gibbon's own and those included by the editor of the 1838 (I think) edition.

There is one very odd feature, however. There is an introduction covering Roman history in brief. It is done on a very fundamental level and is pointless. No one reading Gibbon needs it. But this is the oddest thing: the phrase "Sic Semper Tyrannis" appears once in the intro, and it is misspelled and incorrectly translated!

So: skip the introduction, don't worry that the writer does not know any Latin, and enjoy Gibbon at a bargain price.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Slightly different than advertised, the eBook doesn't '[include]' the audiobook which is actually a link to the Librivox public domain, crowd-read version of this multi-volume hit. I'm enjoying bouncing back and forth between the eBook and the audiobook, as sometimes Gibbon uses the 'former' / 'latter' references on previous sentences the size of modern paragraphs containing Greek and Latin pronouns previously unreferenced.

The book is incredible in its depth. Through the first part of volume one, about the closing of the age of the Antonines, you come to realize how exhaustive and elaborate was the research into which the author poured himself. The details, sidestories, pauses for retrospective, and frequent interjection of stories which couldn't have appeared together in same piece of literary history from which the story at hand dwells. I look forward to more and it ought to be required reading for High school Sophomores.
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