The Fall of the West : The Death of the Roman Superpower, Paperback

The Fall of the West : The Death of the Roman Superpower Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


A sweeping narrative of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

The Fall of the Roman Empire has been a best-selling subject since the 18th century.

Since then, over 200 very diverse reasons have been advocated for the collapse of the western half of the Roman Empire.

Until very recently, the academic view embarrassedly downplayed the violence and destruction, in an attempt to provide a more urbane account of late antiquity: barbarian invasions were mistakenly described as the movement of peoples.

It was all painfully tame and civilised. But now Adrian Goldsworthy comes forward with his trademark combination of clear narrative, common sense, and a thorough mastery of the sources.

In telling the story from start to finish, he rescues the era from the diffident and mealy-mouthed: this is a red-blooded account of aggressive barbarian attacks, palace coups, scheming courtiers and corrupt emperors who set the bar for excess.

It is 'old fashioned history' in the best sense: an accessible narrative with colourful characters whose story reveals the true reasons for the fall of Rome.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: European history
  • ISBN: 9780753826928



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

This is a very informative and entertaining look at the long drawn out collapse of the Roman Empire. Adrian Goldsworthy makes two good points. First, that the Empire took a long time to collapse - it was not a sudden or noticeable thing. Second, that a self-serving and not very efficient bureaucracy played a role. What he didn't spend enough time on, and I think there is sufficient information out there now to have done so, is the impact of health and disease, especially large-scale epidemic disease, on the Empire.A ripping good read, really.

Review by

This book is both well-written and informative. The author provides a good narrative of the period from the golden age to the last years of the roman empire. He also does a good job of incorporating his thesis into the narrative to explain the age-old question of why and how the decline happened.

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