The Ruin of the Roman Empire by James J. O'Donnell
A New History

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Synopsis

The dream Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar shared of uniting Europe, the Medi-terranean, and the Middle East in a single community shuddered and then collapsed in the wars and disasters of the sixth century. Historian and classicist James J. O'Donnell—who last brought readers his masterful, disturbing, and revelatory biography of Saint Augustine—revisits this old story in a fresh way, bringing home its sometimes painful relevance to today's issues.

With unexpected detail and in his hauntingly vivid style, O'Donnell begins at a time of apparent Roman revival and brings readers to the moment of imminent collapse that just preceded the rise of Islam. Illegal migrations of peoples, religious wars, global pandemics, and the temptations of empire: Rome's end foreshadows today's crises and offers hints how to navigate them—if present leaders will heed this story.

 

About James J. O'Donnell

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James J. O'Donnell is a distinguished classicist and has published widely on the history and culture of the late antiquities. A longtime professor of classics at the University of Pennsylvania, he has been provost of Georgetown University since 2002, is a fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, and served as president of the American Philological Association. He is a graduate of Princeton and received his Ph.D. from Yale. He hails from New Mexico and travels the world in search of traces of the ancient past—and fine dark chocolate.
 
Published September 3, 2008 by HarperCollins e-books. 450 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Ruin of the Roman Empire

Kirkus Reviews

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A vigorous history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire—which, as Georgetown University Provost O’Donnell (Augustine, 2005) notes, happened precipitously over three centuries.

Sep 16 2008 | Read Full Review of The Ruin of the Roman Empire:...

Publishers Weekly

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The Roman empire was not invaded by barbarians in the fifth century, says classical historian O’Donnell.

Jul 21 2008 | Read Full Review of The Ruin of the Roman Empire:...

The Bookbag

O'Donnell's writing style is occasionally somewhat affected but The Ruin of the Roman Empire is by and large very readable.

Nov 20 2012 | Read Full Review of The Ruin of the Roman Empire:...

BBC History Magazine

The Ruin of the Roman Empire.

Aug 07 2009 | Read Full Review of The Ruin of the Roman Empire:...

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