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Alaric the Goth

An Outsider's History of the Fall of Rome

Douglas Boin



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09 June 2020
Biography: historical, political & military; History; Classical history & classical civilisation
In the conventional story of Rome's collapse, violent barbarians destroy civilization. Yet from a different point of view, those stale generalities become a history shockingly alive and relevant. Alaric grew up near the river border that separated Gothic territory from the Romans. He survived the emperor's decision to separate immigrant children from their parents, sending them hundreds of miles from their families or forcing them into slavery. Later, he was denied citizenship despite his service in the army, as Romans were deeply conflicted over who should enjoy its privileges: they wanted to buttress their global power, yet were insecure about Roman identity; they depended on foreign goods, but scoffed at foreign ways and mocked foreigners with a potent mix of bigotry and intolerance. The three nights of riots the Goths brought to the capital in ad 410-led by Alaric-struck fear into the hearts of the powerful, but were not without cause. Through Alaric's story, Douglas Boin reveals the Goths' complex and fascinating legacy in shaping the history we thought we knew, but had never imagined from their perspective.
By:   Douglas Boin
Imprint:   Norton
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 244mm,  Width: 163mm,  Spine: 25mm
Weight:   473g
ISBN:   9780393635690
ISBN 10:   0393635694
Pages:   272
Publication Date:   09 June 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Douglas Boin is an associate professor of history at Saint Louis University and the author of Alaric the Goth: An Outsider's History of the Fall of Rome and Coming Out Christian in the Roman World, as well as two scholarly books on antiquity. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Reviews for Alaric the Goth: An Outsider's History of the Fall of Rome

Today, as Douglas Boin of Saint Louis University points out in his superb book, the word Gothic has become synonymous with all that is dark, gloomy and macabre . History, it is often said, is written by the winners-but that is only if they can write. If they can't, then history is written by the losers, crossly. -- The Economist The most engaging parts of Alaric the Goth, and by far the greater portion of its contents, diverge from Alaric's story to give a sweeping view of Roman life near the fall of the empire. It's here, especially in matters of Christian-pagan tension, that Mr. Boin excels. -- James Romm - The Wall Street Journal Boin paints a richly detailed portrait of the world in which Alaric maneuvered, defined by the thrashings of an empire in turmoil... A cogent, readable text that vividly conveys the fears and confusion that surrounded the issue of immigrants' rights in a period of declining Roman power. -- Wendy Smith - The Boston Globe

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