Monday, March 23, 2009

Addendum to the O'Donnell Review

In my review of James J. O'Donnell's The Ruin of the Roman Empire in my last entry below, I mentioned both Peter Heather's The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians and Bryan Ward-Perkins' The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization. A reader has since brought O'Donnell's own review of both books in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review to my attention and I thought it was worth linking to here. O'Donnell makes a good summary of where he agrees and (more interestingly) where he disagrees with both scholars and his comments would be of interest to anyone with an eye on the question of "catastrophe vs continuity" regarding the fall of the Western Empire.

Thanks to "Flavius Aetius" for the heads up.


Anonymous said...

Ah, thanks! This should be interesting.

Humphrey said...

Thanks for the link. I haven't touched the decline and fall of the Roman empire since reading Gibbon in my teens. I can see from your blog I have a lot of catching up to do!.


Humphrey said...

Liked this bit of the review,

"One aspect of the book was seriously off-putting to this reader, but may be less so for others: the flippant lecture-platform style. Many pages read as if they were taken from the lectures at Oxford on ancient history by Colonel Blimp's great-grandson addressing the grandchildren of Bertie Wooster."


Tim O'Neill said...

O'Donnell makes some good criticisms there. But someone who hasn't read on this topic since ol' Gibbon could profitably read Heather, Ward-Perkins and O'Donnell and consider themselves up to speed. And be entertained in the process.

You'd be hard pressed to find three well-written and highly regarded books in other such well trodden fields that could make you the same offer.