Attila The Hun

Attila The Hun

3.5 (628 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

The name Attila the Hun has become a byword for barbarism, savagery and violence. His is a truly household name, but what do we really know about the man himself, his position in history and the world in which he lived? This riveting biography reveals the man behind the myth. In the years 434-454AD the fate of Europe hung upon the actions of one man, Attila, king of the Huns. The decaying Roman empire still stood astride the Western World, from its twin capitals of Rome and Constantinople, but it was threatened by a new force, the much-feared Barbarian hordes. It was Attila who united the Barbarian tribes into a single, amazingly-effective army. He launched two violent attacks against the eastern and western halves of the Roman empire, attacks which earned him his reputation for mindless devastation, and brought an end to Rome's pre-eminence in Europe. Attila was coarse, capricious, arrogant, ruthless and brilliant. An illiterate and predatory tribal chief, he had no interest in administration, but was a wily politician, who, from his base in the grasslands of Hungary, used secretaries and ambassadors to bring him intelligence on his enemies. He was a leader whose unique qualities made him supreme among tribal leaders, but whose weaknesses ensured the collapse of his empire after his death.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 126 x 194 x 28mm | 340.2g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group)
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Illustrations (chiefly col.), ports. (chiefly col.)
  • 0553816586
  • 9780553816587
  • 135,855

About John Man

John Man is a historian and travel writer with a special interest in Mongolia. After reading German and French at Oxford he did two postgraduate courses, one in the history of science at Oxford, the other in Mongolian at the School of Oriental and African Studies. His Gobi: Tracking the Desert (Weidenfeld, 1997) was the first book on the subject in English since the 1920s. He is also the author of The Atlas of the Year 1000, (Penguin 1999), Alpha Beta (Headline, 2000) on the roots of the Roman alphabet, The Gutenberg Revolution (Headline 2002) on the origins and impact of printing, and the bestselling Genghis Khan. His latest book, Kublai Khan, is now available from Bantam Press.show more

Review quote

"'One could not wish for a better storyteller or analyst than John Man... His Attila is superb, as compellingly readable as it is impressive in its scholarship: with his light touch, the Huns and their king live as never before... There is something fascinating and new on every page'" -- Simon Sebag Montefiore "'Man does for the reader that most difficult of tasks: he conjures up an ancient people in an alien landscape in such a way as to make them live . . . a gripping present day quest'" * Guardian * "'Attila is known as a savage but there was much more to this great warrior. Man takes his readers on a thrilling ride alongside the man who marauded across Europe, striking terror into the hearts of entire nations'" -- The Good Book Guide "'Racy and imaginative...sympathetically and readably puts flesh and bones on one of history's most turbulent characters'" -- Sunday Telegraph "'Man's excellent writing breathes new life into a character whose spirit lives on in China and Mongolia today'" -- Historical Novels Reviewshow more

Back cover copy

Attila the Hun is a household name - a byword for barbarism and violence - but to most of us the man himself, his world and his place in history have remained elusive. Until now. For a crucial twenty years in the early 5th century AD, Attila held the fate of the Roman Empire and the future of Europe in his hands. In numerous raids and three major campaigns he and his warriors earned an undying reputation for savagery, and his empire briefly rivalled that of Rome, reaching from the Rhine to the Black Sea, the Baltic to the Balkans. Attila's power derived from his astonishing character. He may have been capricious, arrogant and ruthless, but he was brilliant enough to win the loyalty of millions: his own people thought him semi-divine while educated Westerners were proud to serve him. From his base in the grasslands of Hungary, this 'scourge of God' so very nearly dictated Europe's future... Drawing on his extensive travels in the barbarian heartland and his experience with the nomadic traditions of Central Asia, John Man's riveting biography reveals the man behind the enduring myth of Attila the Hun. 'Racy and imaginative...sympathetically and readably puts flesh and bones on one of history's most turbulent characters' Sunday Telegraph 'Meteoric and momentous...fascinating reading' Guardianshow more

Review Text

"'Man does for the reader that most difficult of tasks: he conjures up an ancient people in an alien landscape in such a way as to make them live . . . a gripping present day quest'"show more

Rating details

628 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 16% (100)
4 34% (214)
3 37% (230)
2 11% (68)
1 3% (16)
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