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The Storm Before the Storm

Mike Duncan
Authors:
Mike Duncan

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.

Basic Books

The Essential Art of War

Ralph D. Sawyer
Authors:
Ralph D. Sawyer

Asne Seierstad

Åsne Seierstad was born in 1970 and studied Russian, Spanish and the History of Philosophy at Oslo University. An internationally bestselling author, she has also received numerous awards for her journalism. She has worked as a war correspondent across the world, including Russia, China, Iraq and Afghanistan. Her second book, The Bookseller of Kabul, has sold over two million copies and the paperback was in the Sunday Times top ten for over a year. Her other critically acclaimed works include A Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal and The Angel of Grozny. Following the atrocities in Oslo and Utoya in July 2011, she attended the trial of Anders Breivik and then began work on One of Us, which became a European bestseller. All of Åsne Seierstad's books are published by Virago.

D.J. Taylor

D. J. Taylor is a writer and critic. His collection of short stories, After Bathing at Baxter's was published in 1997 and he is the author of six novels: Great Eastern Land (1986); Real Life (1992); English Settlement (1996); Trespass (1998), a satire of 1970s England; The Comedy Man (2001), the story of one half of a comedy duo; and Kept: A Victorian Mystery (2006). Several of his books are set in his home city of Norwich.His books of non-fiction include Afer the War: The Novel and England Since 1945 (1993); A Vain Conceit: British fiction in the 1980s (1989), a critical look at the quality of fiction-writing in Britain; and most recently, Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation 1918-1940. He is also well-known for his biographies: Thackeray (1999); and Orwell: The Life, published in 2003 to coincide with the centenary of Orwell's birth. This book won the 2003 Whitbread Biography Award.

Daphne Du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier (1907-89) was born in London, the daughter of the famous actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and granddaughter of George du Maurier, the author and artist. In 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published. A biography of her father and three other novels followed, but it was the novel Rebecca that launched her into the literary stratosphere and made her one of the most popular authors of her day. In 1932, du Maurier married Major Frederick Browning, with whom she had three children.Many of du Maurier's bestselling novels and short stories were adapted into award-winning films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now. In 1969 du Maurier was awarded a DBE. She lived most of her life in Cornwall, the setting for many of her books.

Desmond Seward

Desmond Seward was born in Paris and educated at St Catherine's College, Cambridge. He is the author of numerous studies and biographies.

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor (1912-1975) is increasingly recognised as one of the best British writers of the twentieth century. She wrote her first book, At Mrs Lippincote's, during the war while her husband was in the Royal Air Force, and this was followed by eleven further novels and a children's book, Mossy Trotter. Her acclaimed short stories appeared in publications including Vogue, the New Yorker and Harper's Bazaar.

John Wukovits

John Wukovits, a military historian specializing in World War II, is the author of nine books and numerous articles in military journals and magazines. He lives in Michigan.

Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham is the actress best known for her roles on the critically-acclaimed series "Gilmore Girls" and "Parenthood." She has performed on Broadway and appeared in such films as Bad Santa, Evan Almighty, and Because I Said So. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling novel SOMEDAY, SOMEDAY, MAYBE, which Ballantine Books published in 2013. Her essay collection TALKING AS FAST AS I CAN: FROM GILMORE GIRLS TO GILMORE GIRLS (AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN) was published in 2016 and was also a New York Times bestseller. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Barnard College and an MFA in acting from Southern Methodist University.

Lyndall Gordon

Lyndall Gordon is the prizewinning author of biographies including CHARLOTTE BRONTE, VIRGINIA WOOLF, SHARED LIVES and MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT. Born and raised in South Africa, Lyndall is a fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford.

Mary S. Lovell

Mary Lovell lists her chief interests as horses, sailing, aviation and book collecting. She enjoys overseas travel and is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. She is the author of four previous biographies including the international bestseller STRAIGHT ON TILL MORNING: The Biography of Beryl Markham.

Michele J. Gelfand

Michele Gelfand is a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her pioneering research into cultural norms, conducted in over fifty countries, has been cited more than 22,000 times in the media, including in The Washington Post and Scientific American, and on NPR. The recipient of numerous awards, she is a past president of the International Association for Conflict Management.

Mike Duncan

Mike Duncan is one of the foremost history podcasters in the world. His award winning series The History of Rome chronologically narrated the entire history of the Roman Empire over 189 weekly episodes. Running from 2007-2012, The History of Rome has generated more than 56 million downloads and remains one of the most popular history podcasts on the internet.

Rick Wartzman

Rick Wartzman is a Senior Advisor at the Drucker Institute, where he was Executive Director until early 2016. His books include Obscene in the Extreme, The King of California, and What Would Drucker Do Now? A former writer and editor at the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, he currently comments on the future of work for Fortune online. He lives in Los Angeles.

Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is the author of An Untamed State, Bad Feminist and the story collection Ayiti. Her work has also appeared in Glamour, Best American Short Stories, and the New York Times Book Review. She is the co-editor of PANK.

Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters was born in Wales. She has won a Betty Trask Award, the Somerset Maugham Award and her books have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, Fingersmith and The Night Watch have been adapted for television. Sarah Waters has been named Author of the Year four times: by the British Book Awards, the Booksellers' Association, Waterstone's Booksellers and the Stonewall Awards. She lives in London.

Taylor Downing

Taylor Downing was educated at Cambridge University and is the author of The Cold War, Breakdown (about shell-shock in WWI) , and Churchill's War Lab. His books are 'vivid and fast-paced' (Financial Times).

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of dozens of books and the recipient of various awards, including the National Humanities Medal, Presented by the President of the United States in 2003.

Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin is the author of two collections of short fiction, seven novels, and a biography of St. Francis of Assisi, SALVATION.

Will Hutton

Will Hutton is Principal of Hertford College, co-founder of the Big Innovation Centre and a columnist for the Observer, where he was Editor, then Editor-in-Chief for four years. He began his career in journalism as economics editor for the BBC's Newsnight and for the Guardian.