Attila by John Man
The Barbarian King Who Challenged Rome

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Synopsis

Attila the Hun is a household name---a byword for mindless barbarism. But to most of us the man himself, his world, and his significance are all unknown. In this stunning historical narrative, John Man reveals the real Attila.
For a crucial twenty years in the early fifth century, Attila held the fate of the Roman Empire and the future of all Europe in his hands. The decaying imperium, dominating the West from its twin capitals of Rome and Constantinople, was threatened by barbarian tribes from the East. It was Attila who created the greatest of barbarian forces. His empire briefly rivaled Rome's, reaching from the Rhine to the Black Sea, the Baltic to the Balkans. In numerous raids and three major campaigns against the Roman Empire, he earned himself an instant and undying reputation for savagery.
But there was more to him than mere barbarism. Attila's power derived from his astonishing character. He was capricious, arrogant, and brutal---but also brilliant enough to win the loyalty of millions. Huns thought him semi divine, Goths and other barbarians adored him, educated Westerners were proud to serve him. Attila was also a canny politician. From his base in the Hungarian grasslands, he sent Latin and Greek secretaries to blackmail the Roman Empire. Like other despots, before and since, he relied on foreign financial backing and knew how to play upon the weaknesses of his friends and enemies. With this unique blend of qualities, Attila very nearly dictated Europe's future.
In the end, his ambitions ran away with him. An insane demand for the hand of a Roman princess and assaults too deep into France and Italy led to sudden death in the arms of a new wife. He did not live long enough to found a lasting empire--- but enough to jolt Rome toward its final fall.
In this riveting biography, John Man draws on his extensive travels through Attila's heartland and his experience with the nomadic traditions of Central Asia to reveal the man behind the myth.
 

About John Man

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John Man is a historian and travel writer with a special interest in Mongolia. His Gobi: Tracking the Desert was the first book on the subject in English since the 1920s. He is also the author of Atlas of the Year 1000, Alpha Beta, on the roots of the Roman alphabet, and The Gutenberg Revolution, on the origins and impact of printing. Genghis Khan: Life, Death, and Resurrection was published in 2005.
 
Published July 11, 2006 by Thomas Dunne Books. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Business & Economics. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Attila

The New York Times

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“Attila” was the ninth of Verdi’s 28 operas, an early work, coming right before “Macbeth.” Most opera buffs, if they know “Attila” at all, would rank it pretty far down the list.

Feb 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Attila: The Barbarian King Wh...

The Guardian

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Attila: A Barbarian King and the Fall of Rome by John Man 389pp, Bantam, £20 No wonder the Huns went west.

Mar 19 2005 | Read Full Review of Attila: The Barbarian King Wh...

BC Books

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Giuseppe Verdi’s ninth opera, Attila, finally makes its Metropolitan Opera debut after 164 long years.

Mar 17 2010 | Read Full Review of Attila: The Barbarian King Wh...

Los Angeles Times

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The New York City Opera brought "Attila," in all its gory glory, to the Music Center a decade ago in the same picturesque production now recycled at the War Memorial Opera House.

Nov 26 1991 | Read Full Review of Attila: The Barbarian King Wh...

The Telegraph

In opposition to what over the past few decades has become academic orthodoxy - that Roman Europe did not expire amid anarchy and despoliation but rather was "transformed" - Kelly restores to the Huns their more traditional role of brutal predators.

Sep 06 2008 | Read Full Review of Attila: The Barbarian King Wh...

Forbes

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In 1988, while working a state job as a church painter, 21-year-old Attila Ambrus fled Romania, then run by the tyrant Nicolae Ceausescu, to start a new life in Soviet-dominated Hungary.

Sep 13 2004 | Read Full Review of Attila: The Barbarian King Wh...

The Roanoke Times

Attila led his forces into Gaul and made Rome tremble until the Huns were turned back at present-day Orleans in 452.

Apr 27 2009 | Read Full Review of Attila: The Barbarian King Wh...

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