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

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

Stigmatized and relegated to the margins of Roman society, the Goths were violent “barbarians” who destroyed “civilization,” at least in the conventional story of Rome’s collapse. But a slight shift of perspective brings their history, and ours, shockingly alive.


Alaric grew up near the river border that separated Gothic territory from Roman. He survived a border policy that separated migrant children from their parents, and he was denied benefits he likely expected from military service. Romans were deeply conflicted over who should enjoy the privileges of citizenship. They wanted to buttress their global power, but were insecure about Roman identity; they depended on foreign goods, but scoffed at and denied foreigners their own voices and humanity. In stark contrast to the rising bigotry, intolerance, and zealotry among Romans during Alaric’s lifetime, the Goths, as practicing Christians, valued religious pluralism and tolerance. The marginalized Goths, marked by history as frightening harbingers of destruction and of the Dark Ages, preserved virtues of the ancient world that we take for granted.


The three nights of riots Alaric and the Goths brought to the capital struck fear into the hearts of the powerful, but the riots were not without cause. Combining vivid storytelling and historical analysis, Douglas Boin reveals the Goths’ complex and fascinating legacy in shaping our world.

Title:Alaric the Goth: An Outsider's History of the Fall of Rome
Edition Language:English

Enjoy the book review !

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

  • Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin

    Alaric and the Goths have a bad reputation (largely due to Renaissance writers) but if one looks closer at the events of 410 ce. a much more complicated and less black and white picture emerges. The G...

  • Tim O'Neill

    I like historical analysis that takes well trodden subjects and looks at them from a new or different perspective. It is inevitable that most of our sources on the Goths generally and on Alaric's famo...

  • Philipp

    Feeling like reading a history about a dying empire that * takes immigrants' kids away, puts them into cages, and 'loses' them in the system?* uses immigrants as soldiers and then discards them?* has ...

  • Dave

    This was a very good introduction to the fall of Rome and The outsiders, specifically Alaric, that just wanted acceptance and inclusion into the Roman empire and the consequences when that didn't happ...

  • Dan Seitz

    The story of the fall of Rome, as we're taught, is very simple. A bunch of angry, uncivilized men stormed the great beacon of learning and decency and burnt it all down in a fit of pique. Douglas Boin...

  • Lindsey

    What a great book! Alaric the Goth was informative while still being engaging and entertaining! Douglas Boin painted his history book with images of the ancient world that felt almost like time travel...

  • Matt

    Excellent look at a controversial figure in Roman history with a lot of parallels to today's increasingly partisan and polarized society.Boin uses the few scraps of historical accounts that exist to p...

  • Kristy

    The story of Alaric the Goth is more than the traditional view of a barbarian who sacked the glorious city of Rome in 410 that history has given him. In his exploration of Alaric's world and story, Bo...

  • peter lang

    Atlantic's legacyI quite enjoyed this book,too bad it wasn't longer. It's extremely important that the legacy of Alaric be objectively evaluated....

  • K

    "A talented immigrant is denied citizenship by an unjust empire and, in retaliation, unleashes a surprise attack."This is Alaric the Goth, who would go on to sack Rome in the year 410. He cannot write...