Why America Is Not a New Rome

Why America Is Not a New Rome

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by Vaclav Smil
     
 

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An investigation of the America-Rome analogy that goes deeper than the facile comparisons made on talk shows and in glossy magazine articles.See more details below

Overview

An investigation of the America-Rome analogy that goes deeper than the facile comparisons made on talk shows and in glossy magazine articles.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[T]his book is both a polemic and a work of scholarship." --
Daniel Headrick, Technology and Culture

The MIT Press

"Smil (Univ. of Manitoba, Canada) has written an entertaining response to authors who have compared the US to the Roman Empire..." -- S. Prisco III,
CHOICE

The MIT Press

Publishers Weekly
Smil (Global Catastrophes and Trends) scrutinizes the frequently made comparison between ancient Rome and the contemporary U.S. as “bloated, decadent” empires in decline. Though he sees the U.S. as a country “in gradual relative retreat” and believes that the perception of its power and influence, like that of ancient Rome, is vastly exaggerated, he dismisses any analogy between the two because of their vastly different reaches of power and economic bases. With exacting rigor, he makes his case first by clarifying such key terms as empire, then examining the political might, energy consumption, and demographic patterns of the two societies. Smil covers an impressive range of topics, from the U.S.’s national debt to the Roman use of water power. By taking a granular, scientific approach, the author convincingly demonstrates that life in ancient Rome and contemporary America are so different in almost every meaningful way that any comparison of the two societies is at best general and superficial. Readers willing to sift through the author’s frequently technical analysis will come away with a richer understanding of both the Roman Empire and the post-WWII United States. (Mar.)
Daniel Headrick

[T]his book is both a polemic and a work of scholarship.

S. Prisco III

Smil (Univ. of Manitoba, Canada) has written an entertaining response to authors who have compared the US to the Roman Empire...

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262195935
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
03/01/2010
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
7.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Paul Demeny

Repetition by pundits and literary commentators in the mass media has entrenched in people's minds the notion that America is a new Rome. Smil's book,
tightly argued and rigorously documented, is a concise and persuasive scientific demolition of the Rome-America parallel, totally deflating the usefulness of the analogy as a tool of historical analysis. Why America is Not a New Rome is a much-needed corrective.

From the Publisher

"Repetition by pundits and literary commentators in the mass media has entrenched in people's minds the notion that America is a new Rome. Smil's book, tightly argued and rigorously documented, is a concise and persuasive scientific demolition of the Rome-America parallel, totally deflating the usefulness of the analogy as a tool of historical analysis. Why
America is Not a New Rome is a much-needed corrective."-- Paul Demeny, Distinguished Scholar,
Population Council, New York

The MIT Press

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