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In the greatest work of history in the English language, Edward Gibbon compresses thirteen turbulent centuries into a gripping epic narrative. It is history in the grand eighteenth-century manner, a well-researched drama charged with insight, irony, and incisive character analysis. In elegant prose, Gibbon presents both the broad pattern of events and the significant revealing detail. He delves into religion, politics, sexuality, and social mores with equal authority and aplomb. While subsequent research revealed minor factual errors about the early Empire, Gibbon's bold vision, witty descriptions of a vast cast of characters, and readiness to display his own beliefs and prejudices result in an astonishing work of history and literature, at once powerfully intelligent and enormously entertaining. Based on David Womersley's definitive three-volume Penguin Classics edition of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, this abridgement contains complete chapters from all three volumes, linked by extended bridging passages, vividly capture the style, the argument, and the architecture of the whole work.
Famously sceptical about Christianity, unexpectedly sympathetic to the barbarian invaders and the Byzantine Empire, constantly aware of how political leaders often achieve the exact opposite of what they intend, Gibbon was alert to both the broad pattern of events and the significant revealing detail. Attacked for its enlightened views on politics, sexuality and religion, the first volume was widely acclaimed for the elegance of its prose.
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