Thursday, October 8, 2009

Men Willingly Believe What They Wish

It was in part the greatness of Rome that led to its eventual collapse and fall, and this singular fact has exercised the mind of the historian ever since. See what the latest take is with these recent books.

Rubicon : The Last Years of the Roman Republic
Holland, Tom

Tom Holland's enthralling account tells the story of Caesar' s generation, witness to the twilight of the Republic and its bloody transformation into an empire. From Cicero, Spartacus, and Brutus, to Cleopatra, Virgil, and Augustus, here are some of the most legendary figures in history brought thrillingly to life.

Scipio Africanus : Rome's Greatest General
by Gabriel, Richard A.

Hannibal is known to most school children because he took elephants across the Alps in his bid to conquer Rome. Few, if any, would learn about the general who defeated him, Scipio Africanus. Gabrial describes Scipio in terms of his belief in republican principles and intense Roman patriotism. He finds much that contemporary military leaders might emulate.

Are We Rome? : The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America
by Murphy, Cullen

Murphy reveals a wide array of similarities between the two empires: the blinding, insular culture of our capitals; the debilitating effect of corruption; border issues; and the weakening of the body politic through various forms of "privatization.

The Fall of the Roman Empire : A New History
by Heather, Peter

Heather explores the extraordinary success story that was the Roman Empire and uses a new understanding of its continued strength and enduring limitations to show how Europe's barbarians, transformed by centuries of contact with Rome on every possible level, eventually pulled the Empire apart.

Augustus : The Life of Rome's First Emperor
Everitt, Anthony

Augustus found Rome made of clay and left it made of marble. The world that made Augustus–and that he himself later remade–was driven by intrigue, sex, ceremony, violence, scandal, and naked ambition. Everitt has taken some of the household names of history–Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, Antony, Cleopatra–whom few know the full truth about, and turned them into flesh-and-blood human beings.

The Day of the Barbarians : The Battle That Led to the Fall of the Roman Empire
Barbero, Alessandro; Cullen, John (Translator)

A revisionist history of the relatively obscure battle of Adrianople, arguing that the course of world history changed after the clash in 378 A.D., in the eastern Roman province of Thrace, between an army of Goths and a Roman imperial army.


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