Couldn’t finish it. The first two chapters can be summarized as: “We have no idea what it was like for peasants in Roman and early medieval times, but I bet it was terrible, because every cultural achievement was built on their sweaty, overworked backs. Now here’s a bunch of quickly summarized history to wash that down.”
What did I learn? Nothing, really. There are better books out there on everything he tackles here, from the waxing and waning of Imperial Rome (see Peter Heather’s The Fall of the Roman Empire) to life in Spain during the Reconquista (see Kage Baker’s In the Garden of Iden).