The great work of Gibbon is indispensable to the student of history. The literature of Europe offers no substitute for The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. It has obtained undisputed possession, as rightful occupant, of the vast period which it comprehends. However some subjects, which it embraces, may have undergone more complete investigation, on the general view of the whole period, this history is the sole undisputed authority to which all defer, and from which few appeal to the original writers, or to more modern compilers.
The decline and fall of Rome
A well written summary of the period of the Roman reign on this earth.
The easiest to read volume of the series
This book covers the history of Rome, glossing over the period before Augustus, and then covering the succeeding emperors in fair detail through to Constantine.
The reasons you might read this book would include:
* it's a classic, so you can impress people at dinner parties (not really)
* it's the basis for the understanding of Roman history for typical educated English speakers from the late 18th century through to the late 20th century (for good and ill) and interesting, for example, to consider in the light of what the US constitutional framers might have had on their minds.
* Gibbon has axes to grind, and can be very entertaining when, for example, comparing the number of Christians killed by Romans to the number killed by other Christians.
* It's more entertaining than more scholarly histories, although frequently comprises stupendously long paragraphs and Byzantine sentences.
Best Roman Empire book ever