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Publisher's Summary

The gripping story of how the end of the Roman Empire was the beginning of the modern world

The fall of the Roman Empire has long been considered one of the greatest disasters in history. But in this groundbreaking book, Walter Scheidel argues that Rome's dramatic collapse was actually the best thing that ever happened, clearing the path for Europe's economic rise and the creation of the modern age. Ranging across the entire premodern world, Escape from Rome offers new answers to some of the biggest questions in history: Why did the Roman Empire appear? Why did nothing like it ever return to Europe? And, above all, why did Europeans come to dominate the world? 

In an absorbing narrative that begins with ancient Rome but stretches far beyond it, from Byzantium to China and from Genghis Khan to Napoleon, Scheidel shows how the demise of Rome and the enduring failure of empire-building on European soil ensured competitive fragmentation between and within states. This rich diversity encouraged political, economic, scientific, and technological breakthroughs that allowed Europe to surge ahead while other parts of the world lagged behind, burdened as they were by traditional empires and predatory regimes that lived by conquest. It wasn't until Europe "escaped" from Rome that it launched an economic transformation that changed the continent and ultimately the world. 

What has the Roman Empire ever done for us? Fall and go away.

©2019 Princeton University Press (P)2019 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Escape from Rome

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  • Matt Griffin
  • 03-12-2019

Very interesting book, terrible narration

The ideas in the book are super interesting if you like the long view of history. The narration however is impossible to listen to, with every. word. pronounced. individually. with. long. pauses. in...….... the. middle. of. sentences. The book should be re-recorded.

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  • Daniel Shenk
  • 21-03-2020

Fantastic!

This is one of the best books I have listened to in a long time! I have read almost everything I can find on why "the West" reached modernity before the rest of the world. Scheidel approaches this question from a completely original angle. He also provides the best, most accessible overview of the current theories that I have found. Definitely one of my all-time favorite history books.

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  • Shabnam Vaziri-Sadri
  • 21-11-2020

Too dry and detailed for non historians

This is an amazingly well researched book full of historical facts and valuable insights. However, the content is very dry and the style is humorless. It is a tough read and unless you are a historian you may find that it contains too much information. Additionally, the audio is not engaging. The narrator’s tone is monotonous and at times it is hard to tell when he is calling out a chapter or just another sentence.

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  • Gary
  • 25-10-2019

Is this read by a robot?

This review refers to the Audible version only, as I havent been able to get very far There, are just, too, many, pauses, in the reading. I am not talking as someone who has a thing for English grammar and correct diction, I Is this read by someone who has no idea of inflection, or by some sort of AI. I cant listen to it How do I get my money back?

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  • powpowstu
  • 18-10-2019

narration is awful

the narration of this book make it unlistanbale. stilted, computerised ear bleeding. the content is good.

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