The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire by Kyle Harper

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The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire Read Online Free - A sweeping new history of how climate change and disease helped bring down the Roman Empire

Here is the monumental retelling of one of the most consequential chapters of human history: the fall of the Roman Empire. The Fate of Rome is the first book to examine the catastrophic role that climate change and infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome's power--a story of nature's triumph over human ambition.

Interweaving a grand historical narrative with cutting-edge climate science and genetic discoveries, Kyle Harper traces how the fate of Rome was decided not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria. He takes readers from Rome's pinnacle in the second century, when the empire seemed an invincible superpower, to its unraveling by the seventh century, when Rome was politically fragmented and materially depleted. Harper describes how the Romans were resilient in the face of enormous environmental stress, until the besieged empire could no longer withstand the combined challenges of a "little ice age" and recurrent outbreaks of bubonic plague.

A poignant reflection on humanity's intimate relationship with the environment, The Fate of Rome provides a sweeping account of how one of history's greatest civilizations encountered, endured, yet ultimately succumbed to the cumulative burden of nature's violence. The example of Rome is a timely reminder that climate change and germ evolution have shaped the world we inhabit--in ways that are surprising and profound.

Title : The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0691166838
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 440 pages


Hadrian rated it ★★★★☆

December 19, 2017

The Fate of Rome is yet another investigation on the collapse of the Roman Empire. Harper knows he is not alone in this - he makes generous references to the previous literature on the topic, ranging from Gibbon and Malthus themselves to William McNeill's Plagues and Peoples. Even better, he brin...

Emma rated it ★★★★☆

November 01, 2017

For his third book, Kyle Harper has utilised the tools developed to address the modern focus on climate change to investigate the extent to which the varied effects of environment, climate, and disease were significant in the fall of the Roman Empire. In no way does he discount the role of human...

Dominic rated it ★★★★★

October 01, 2017

Kyle Harper's "The Fate of Rome" is the intellectual heir to Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Where Diamond looked at how environmental change led to the collapse of several smaller civilizations around the world, Harper argues that climate change and disease hel...

Jessica rated it ★★★★☆

February 02, 2018

Scholarly nonfiction is always so hard to rate. Is this examination of the impacts of disease and climate on the fall of the Roman empire interesting and important? Yes, very much so. Do I have enough detailed background on the minutia of Roman history to independently evaluate the strength of th...

Peter rated it ★★★★☆

October 29, 2017

Another decline and fall theory for the perennial pastime of expounding on what did in the Romans. This book pins the blame on climate change and disease. These games are fun like trying to look at stills of the grassy knoll it can only go so far before becoming guesswork and speculation but fun...

Anas rated it ★★★★☆

October 21, 2017

Summary : 1. While Marcus Aurelius held the reins, a pandemic “interrupted the economic and demographic expansion” of the Roman empire. 2. In the middle of the 3rd century, a cocktail of drought, plague, and political turmoil led to the unforeseen and precipitous dissolution of the empire. It was,...

Katrina rated it ★★★☆☆

November 30, 2017

This is a fascinating book on a topic that I assumed had long since been picked over. There was quite a bit of evidence to support the author's arguments. It does enjoy using a 75 cent words when a 10 cent one might do the job.

Jeremy rated it ★★★★☆

October 29, 2017

A narrative history of Imperial Rome that focuses primarily on the history of climate change and disease. It surveys a wealth of recent work understanding climate change and the evolution of pathogens. It's striking to note the way this recent scientific work aligns with the written record: In ea...

Ryan rated it ★★★★★

January 05, 2018

Kyle Harper provides a thorough examination of the unseen forces in the collapse of the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, namely disease and climate change. Harper’s central thesis is that the environment, in which the political and social events leading to the downfall of the ancient world occurre...

Chris rated it ★★★☆☆

December 26, 2017

Decent book. If Goodreads gave half-stars, I'd give it 3.5. But a lot of it seemed fairly basic, so I wasn't going to give it four stars. This book has a different take on Rome's fall. Instead of looking at Huns or Goths or Christians or internal politics to explain Rome's fall, author Kyle Harper...

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