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The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Part 2): Audio CDs: Pt. 2 (Classic non-fiction) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, Classical

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks; Abridged edition edition (1 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 962634122X
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626341223
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 13.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,207,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I have listened to this production several times. Gibbon was a great entertainer as well as a great historian and I would recommend these excerpts to anyone with a strong interest in the rise of the medieval Europe, but those who are not historians need to be aware that there are failings both in Gibbon and in the Naxos production which spoil this recording.
First Gibbon. Leaving aside the ways in which scholarship has moved on since the eighteenth century, it has always been recognized that Gibbon's later volumes -- those that deal with the Byzantines and the period after the fall of the Empire in the west in 476 -- are much weaker than his earlier volumes. There are times when Gibbon is grossly unfair to the Byzantines; times when he exaggerates the strengths of an emperor (e.g. his words of praise for the failure emperor Manuel Comnenus in this recording); times when he is pretty silly -- e.g. suggesting that Constantine VI was poisoned by the wife of his son Romanus II or in his prurient but pointless interest in the love affairs of the wife of Belisarius; times when he strays a very long way from his main subject e.g. by writing about the Tartars and the Mongols and just seems to be writing about what takes his fancy.
Naxos has frankly done a very bad job indeed of editing these excerpts. Whoever wrote the linkage simply does not know the elementary facts of Byzantine history and so slips into some crude blunders, e.g. when the linkage text suggests that the Greek church is different from the Crusaders because it rejects the Trinity. This is simply ignorance. The same thing shows through in the pronunciation of many names, and even less excusably some basic words.
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You have to listen to it a few times for the information to absorb! Fascinating and we do not learn from our mistakes!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars compelling, refined, and juggernaut-like 1 Sept. 2014
By David Sahner Santa Cruz - Published on Amazon.com
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The late Welsh actor, Philip Madoc, has a delivery and voice (sonorous, compelling), accent (refined but not plummy) and cadence/phrasing (juggernaut-like yet not overly rapid) that lends itself perfectly to the most evocative and, at times, syntactically complex, historical account ever written. Rome is brought into vivid relief in this performance, with transporting sentences you will wish to repeat to yourself over and over to bask in their sounds and images. Other historians (Jacques Barzun and William Manchester) may be heirs to Gibbon's throne, but there can be only one Edward Gibbon.

David Sahner
Santa Cruz, CA
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