Thursday, August 24, 2006

Airport Reading

I flew back out to the Washington on Tuesday and picked up this book at one of the book sellers at Bradley. Most of the books they sell at airports are of the DaVinci Code in quality and appeal. Fortunately, I happened upon a bookstore in the terminal who had a collection of "Literature", mostly the stuff you read or should have read in high school and college. It almost made feel well read to see all the books there that I had somehow muddled through before. I wanted to buy Middlemarch on which I have done many reports but never bothered to read, but the only George Elliot book they had was Silas Mariner.
My quick review of the Fall of Rome.
  • Yes Rome did fall, it wasn't peaceful nor was it intentional - necessarily. Ward-Perkins doesn't go into why or how Rome fell, he was too busy making the case that there was indeed a fall.
  • There was a substantial period of less than elevated living in a great part of the world afterward and this didn't really end for hundreds of years. If this sounds like news to you, you may have been in a college classroom in the last few years where they might tend to portray the fall of Rome in a more positive light, i.e. misunderstood Germanic tribes seeking a multicultural accommodation vis a vis Roman dominance.
  • An entertaining and quick read, just under 250 pages, this book will tell you more about the political leanings and ground axes in academia than Visigothic machinations. I found it interesting to see how the portrayal of the Germanic tribes rises and falls depending on how modern Germany is behaving and who is writing the history. Latinate writers tend to have a more dour view of the Roman downfall, some Germanic scholars tend to be more sanguine.

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