The Storm Before the Storm
The Roman Republic was one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of civilization. After its founding in 509 BCE, Rome grew from an unremarkable Italian city-state to the dominant superpower of the Mediterranean world. Through it all, the Romans never allowed a single man to seize control of the state. Every year for four hundred years the annually elected consuls voluntarily handed power to their successors. Not once did a consul give in to the temptation to grab absolute power and refuse to let it go. It was a run of political self-denial unmatched in the history of the world. The disciplined Roman republicans then proceeded to explode out of Italy and conquer a world filled with petty tyrants, barbarian chieftains, and despotic kings.But the very success of the Republic proved to be its undoing. The republican system was unable to cope with the vast empire Rome ruled. Bankrolled by mountains of imperial wealth and without a foreign enemy to keep them united, ambitious Roman leaders began to stray from the republican austerity of their ancestors. Almost as soon as they had conquered the Mediterranean, Rome would become engulfed in violent political conflicts and civil wars that would destroy the Republic less than a century later.The Storm Before the Storm tells the story of the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic--the story of the first generation that had to cope with the dangerous new political environment made possible by Rome's unrivaled domination over the known world. The tumultuous years from 133-80 BCE set the stage for the fall of the Republic.The Republic faced issues like rising economic inequality, increasing political polarization, the privatization of the military, endemic social and ethnic prejudice, rampant corruption, ongoing military quagmires, and the ruthless ambition and unwillingness of elites to do anything to reform the system in time to save it--a situation that draws many parallels to present-day America. These issues are among the reasons why the Roman Republic would fall. And as we all know, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

The Storm Before the Storm Details

TitleThe Storm Before the Storm
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 24th, 2017
PublisherPublicAffairs
ISBN-139781610397216
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Ancient History, Historical

The Storm Before the Storm Review

  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    The first chapter of the audio book is available here.We truly live in an amazing age when someone can go from releasing a podcast about history before people really knew what podcasts were (2007) to getting a book publishing deal on the subject. If you have not been clued into Mike Duncan's amazing Roman podcast series The History of Rome or his current one on various Revolutions you are truly missing out on some of the best audio experiences out there (and for the low, low price of free). Ever The first chapter of the audio book is available here.We truly live in an amazing age when someone can go from releasing a podcast about history before people really knew what podcasts were (2007) to getting a book publishing deal on the subject. If you have not been clued into Mike Duncan's amazing Roman podcast series The History of Rome or his current one on various Revolutions you are truly missing out on some of the best audio experiences out there (and for the low, low price of free). Ever since he announced he was getting a Roman History book published I have been extremely excited to get my hands on the book, especially given how many unsettling parallels there will likely be between this period of the Roman Republic and the current period of the American Republic (I really need to stop reading books like that).If you love history (especially Roman history) you should give his podcasts a try and check out this book when it is released in October.
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  • Margaret Sankey
    January 1, 1970
    This is a solid popular history of the generation and a half before the First Triumvirate--the period from the Gracchi brothers to the death of Sulla, which is usually simplified in popular forms or skipped in order to get to Julius Caesar or Augustus. Instead, this is an easily digestible account of the Lex Agraria, the changes to the Roman military, the Roman involvement in the breaking down of the Hellenistic kingdoms in Asia Minor, ramifications of limiting or increasing voting, the triggers This is a solid popular history of the generation and a half before the First Triumvirate--the period from the Gracchi brothers to the death of Sulla, which is usually simplified in popular forms or skipped in order to get to Julius Caesar or Augustus. Instead, this is an easily digestible account of the Lex Agraria, the changes to the Roman military, the Roman involvement in the breaking down of the Hellenistic kingdoms in Asia Minor, ramifications of limiting or increasing voting, the triggers that spark slave revolts and the debates over rolling out full citizenship to Italian friends and allies. Duncan knows his sources, and will explain how something is a charitable reading of someone's motives, or likely propaganda (as when the only detailed account of an event comes from Sulla's memoirs).
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5 stars*At the time, everyone thought that just one more push for their personal agenda would win the day. Collectively, they ended up pushing the republic over the edge.Oh, I'm sorry. This is Ancient Rome, not modern America. But here is the story of the fall of a republic as it gallops towards oblivion. The threads of the constitution fray and fray and fray and snap as simple reform bills turn into battles for personal glory which turn into riots in the forum which turn into civil war.This *4.5 stars*At the time, everyone thought that just one more push for their personal agenda would win the day. Collectively, they ended up pushing the republic over the edge.Oh, I'm sorry. This is Ancient Rome, not modern America. But here is the story of the fall of a republic as it gallops towards oblivion. The threads of the constitution fray and fray and fray and snap as simple reform bills turn into battles for personal glory which turn into riots in the forum which turn into civil war.This book is best paired with On Tyranny . And followed up by its academic elder brother, The Roman Revolution .
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  • Hilary Scroggie
    January 1, 1970
    "These echoes could be mere coincidence, of course, but the great Greek biographer Plutarch certainly believed it possible that 'if, on the other hand, there is a limited number of elements from which events are interwoven, the same things must happen many times, being brought to pass by the same agencies.""But this was an age when a lie was not a lie if a man had the audacity to keep asserting the lie was true."I'm not nervous you're nervous.
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  • Geoffrey
    January 1, 1970
    (Note - I received an advanced electronic version of this book courtesy of NetGalley)Mike Duncan successfully brings the same high level of narrative craftsmanship from his renowned podcasts over to the printed word, and is able to untangle yet another tumultuous period of history and its various feuding factions and warring personalities into an easily readable chronicle that can be (and most definitely will be) enjoyed by history enthusiasts.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book in a Goodreads GiveawayThe Storm before the Storm is a well researched, compelling narrative for any person interested in History. I highly recommend it and can't wait to pass this book on to the History Teacher in my family. I know he will love it!
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  • Kurt Adams
    January 1, 1970
    A fascinating read. The parallels with modern American politics are scary.
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