Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization Paperback – Jun 1 2010
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“Captivating…In Lost to the West Lars Brownworth shows a novelist’s eye for character, bringing to life some of the most fascinating — and yet little known -- figures of the Byzantine era. But it is as a researcher into the obscurities of palace intrigue, treachery, and battlefield carnage that Lars really shines. With dry humor and a palette of vivid images, he recounts the dizzying game of musical chairs that placed one usurper after another on the Byzantine throne, only to be pitched off in a gaudily macabre way. In the end, one is left agog by the irony that the upshot of this centuries-long scrum was the preservation of nearly all that the Greeks have bequeathed to us.”
—Steven Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire
“Rome never fell -- it simply moved five hundred miles East -- to Byzantium. For over a thousand years the Byzantines commanded one of the most visceral and vivid empires the world has ever known. And yet their achievements are consistently underplayed; written out of history. Lars Brownworth is a rare talent. His contagious passion brings murderous empresses, conniving eunuchs, lost Greek texts and Byzantine treasures of fairy-tale proportions blinking back into the light. Confidently striding through time and across the mountains and plains of the Eastern Mediterranean, Brownworth puts this theocratic superstate slap-bang in the center of mankind's global story; back where it should be. The Byzantines made our world what it is today. Lars Brownworth matches their verve and brio in his seductive and gripping account.”
—Bettany Hughes, PBS host and author of Helen of Troy
“This is history as it used to be, history as story-telling. In this fascinating account of the Byzantine empire, Lars Brownworth covers a thousand years of blood-letting, outrageous luxury, bitter religious disputes and vaulting ambition without giving the slightest impression of being rushed or crowded. The page turns unaided.”
—Anthony Everitt, bestselling author of Augustus, Cicero and The First Emperor
"A hugely entertaining and often moving portrait of a civilization to which the modern West owes an immense but neglected debt. Read it, and you will never use the word 'Byzantine' as a term of abuse again."
—Thomas Holland, author of Millennium, Persian Fire and Rubicon
“Lost to the West is the sort of history I wish I’d been offered in school — a fast-paced adventure story that covers over a thousand years of political intrigue, brilliant leaders, incompetent squabblers, mayhem, butchery and religious divides, and vividly pictures a bygone era that is still a vital part of our heritage.”
—Mark Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds
"The Byzantines are back! Correcting centuries of neglect, Lars Brownworth guides us through a forgotten world and, with clarity and wit, brings it to vibrant life. Filled with a dazzling cast of ruthless Emperors, conniving generals and half-crazed scholars, Lost to the West is both entertaining and enlightening -- a great piece of popular history."
—Tony Perrottet, author of Pagan Holiday and The Naked Olympics
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
LARS BROWNWORTH, a former high-school history teacher, is the creator of the podcast phenomenon “12 Byzantine Rulers” that iTunes named as one of the “podcasts that define the genre.” Brownworth and his podcast have been profiled in the New York Times, Wired, and USA Today, and were featured on NPR.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I think this great book for all Christians wanting an understanding of the historic development and history of the Byzantine Empire.
Highly readable, exciting, hard to put down..... it great book for Christians or anyone interested in the history of this time and empire.
Yes and no. Certainly Lost to the West is a nice little introduction to the history of the Roman empire in the east that survived for a thousand years after Rome itself had fallen to the German barbarians. The book is easy to understand, full of interesting anecdotes and possesses the jaunty journalistic style that marked the podcasts. But that's all there is: nothing is handled in depth, no new information or interpretation is offered and certainly one might put the book down convinced that Byzantium had not bequeathed Western Civilization much more than some old manuscripts and refugee teachers of Greek.
Having said that, if you have not yet read a history of the Byzantine Empire this is a very good place to start. The works of John Julius Norwich are dry as dust, Averil Cameron's The Byzantines concentrates on social history and other works such as Constantinople 1453 are too narrowly focused to serve as an introductory book.
Most recent customer reviews
I found a lot of great epic and true stories - which I never expected. It's enjoyable to read and I learned quite a bit as well. Read morePublished 2 months ago by E. Bourgeois
Extremely interesting encapsulation of the Byzantine empire and all of the politics of the day. Good thing they were there to stop the many invasions of europe.Published 16 months ago by Russ C
Very accessible introduction to the later Roman history that's often overlooked in popular culture.Published 18 months ago by Nick
I really enjoyed the way this book was written. It's a book worth savouring...I'd strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading ancient history without getting bogged down in... Read morePublished on Feb. 18 2014 by D. Hidlebaugh