Latest Acquisition

Photo on 10-23-15 at 3.07 AM

I just got a crappy library copy off of Amazon. And it came from the Pima County Public Library, that was my library growing up.

From the dust jacket flap of the book:

The fall of the Roman Empire was the denouement of a long and dramatic confrontation between powerful ideological forces and legendary men. R. A. Lafferty captures the true meaning of both, and examines the people, places, ideas and feelings that led to this epic struggle.

Rome’s demise was not a simple case of fierce barbarians sacking and subduing a decadent, crumbling city. The author has skillfully balanced the turmoil and illusions of a mighty, dying Empire against the vitality of the aggressive Huns, Vandals, and above all, the Goths. The result is one of the most perceptive and stimulating historical accounts ever written.

This is history told and read for sheer pleasure: exciting, splendid and complex. The Fall of Rome is a story of the men and women who made things happen, who were as awesome, poignant, and in some cases, as savage as the era itself.

Of course this will have to sit on the shelf like the others until I am done with school.

Speaking of which. They will no longer be issuing certification for ICD-9 after the end of this year. That is what I have been in school for. Luckily my school is offering some sort of deal that can allow me to get ICD-10 certification training. I haven’t got near the actual coding part yet so I haven’t really lost any ground. I will require an extension. It might be advantageous to go through the ICD-9 training with or without certification because I doubt all the years, decades I think, of ICD-9 is simply going to disappear merely because the government wagged its finger.

Photo on 10-23-15 at 3.16 AM

I also picked this up. I realize they are re-releasing his short fiction but I don’t trust that either – they’ll finish it, or will be done before 2025.

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13 responses to “Latest Acquisition

  • Joachim Boaz

    “The result is one of the most perceptive and stimulating historical accounts ever written.” — what? I suspect this book is a very odd read — especially considering the era in which he was writing and the state of the professional scholarship on Rome and Late Antiquity at the time 😉

    • bensira587

      It’s Lafferty, oddity is a given. I have glanced through it briefly so far. From what I can gather this is not a history of the fall of Rome as you would expect to receive from a textbook. This is a historical narrative giving certain events a near fictional clarity and color.

      I’ve read a lot of world history. 99.9% of it falls out the other ear in its endless recitation of happenings. This, I think, may stick.

      I’m sure he got the important facts right. Rome fell!

      • Joachim Boaz

        I am a professional medieval historian (PhD complete in the Spring) and there is actually a debate about what “fall” in this case means (if it happened at all) — or rather it was a slow transformation over a 100 or so year period. So no, hence my comment — history is not really an endless recitation of happenings 😉 It is the interpretation (informed by historical method etc) of said events… And yes, there is a debate as the city itself was sacked in 410 A.D. some 60 odd years before the “end” of the empire. Also, figures like Theodoric (the Ostrogothic king of Italy who was raised UNTIL he was a young adult in the Eastern Empire) viewed themselves as new emperors in all but name… and many of the emperors before the “end” of the empire were of Gothic descent. So, it’s a complex question!

        • Joachim Boaz

          …let alone notions of what it actually means to be “Roman” or “Barbarian” as figures such as Theodoric moved between these areas at will depending on situation, context, and purpose.

        • bensira587

          I agree about the ambiguity of the term “fall”. I make no distinction by using the term, merely that it is easier to use. And I make no claim of knowledge by using it, just applying convention.

          By an endless recitation of happenings I didn’t mean history itself, but how history is usually presented. Maybe that is the perspective of a casual reader as myself, I find remembering the sprawling ocean of details terribly hard to hold onto. What Charles is this? Henry the what – who? When? This king of x rules y through his brother’s wife’s father… huh? What? Pope who when, did what… the IV Innocent, Benedict… what?

          I was merely saying that Lafferty’s more abstract poetic telling (whatever the truth value in specifics) may stick to my grey matter better than merely facts, and I can stick facts to that kind of matter.

          If that makes no sense, no matter. I know what I mean!

          • Joachim Boaz

            Of course the details can be overwhelming — but, one of many types of specialist knowledge. I understand completely it is a poetic (re)telling. I find it interesting that he tackled such a topic and, that was the time that term “Late Antique” was gaining traction so I wonder if it is reflective in his work. Especially since someone like Gibbon claimed Catholicism was an important cause of the “fall” of Rome. And, well, Lafferty is very much a Catholic…

            • bensira587

              When I get around to reading it (which won’t be for a while) I’ll post about it with an interest to what you raise here. The one thing I can be sure of without reading it is he disagrees with Gibbon. But that is to be expected.

              You certainly raised something that will make this read have another dimension.

  • taichiwawa

    A Roman walks into a bar, holds up two fingers and says, “I’ll have five beers, please.”

      • taichiwawa

        I assert that my comment is analogously relevant to the topic of discussion inasmuch as the joke’s humor — such as it is — is based on a contrasting interpretation of signs. As Joachim notes, history is not a simple matter of recounting events but of interpreting them, a tradition as old as Herodotus.

        • bensira587

          Pithy means concise, not irrelevant or fallacious. I liked the comment, I laughed.

        • bensira587

          It just occurred to me that you may have meant your joke in only one sense. I took it in two senses. One, the obvious play on two and V, and another in Rome’s spending itself into financial chaos. Meaning he wants five but will pay for two.

          So perhaps I got more out of your joke than you intended.

  • Let me then explain it in excruciating detail… | R.J. Wizard

    […] time reader in post Latest Acquisition  states the […]

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