The Storm Before the Storm is massively entertaining and relevant to our own time. All times, in fact. War, politics, money, power, corruption, and class warfare seem to overwhelm the republican Roman political system and the results are horrifying. Huge personalities like Marius and Sulla cast a large shadow, but forces beyond anyone’s control seem to drive the narrative. A chilling reminder of what can happen in any republic. Masterfully told.
—Dan Carlin, host of Hardcore History
Written with the humor and storytelling instincts that made him such a popular podcaster, Duncan brilliantly answers a vital question that is rarely asked: What weakened the late Roman Republic enough that it collapsed under the ambitions of the Caesars? This is history as it should be—compelling, witty, and ultimately revealing.
—Lars Brownworth, author of In Distant Lands: A Short History of the Crusades
Never has a book about history that’s two millennia old been so timely. Duncan, in the sort of narrative prose that caused his podcasts to electrify history lovers everywhere, tells the story of the decay of Republican Rome—and its contemporary relevance drips off every page. The Storm Before the Storm has everything from vividly portrayed populist demagogues exploiting economic and social inequality to the failure of calcified republican institutions to adapt to changing circumstances. You’ll learn as much about the problems we face today from this book as from any newspaper.
—Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of Lawfare and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution
Mike Duncan turns his talent for clear and engaging exposition to an underappreciated period of Roman history: the last days of the Republic, before the rise of Caesar and the agonizing civil wars that yielded the Roman Empire. Duncan’s readable and witty style, and his eye for the telling detail and memorable anecdote, carry the reader through a gripping narrative.
—Peter Adamson, professor of philosophy, LMU Munich, and host of History of Philosophy