Why America Is Not a New Rome

  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-03-01
  • Publisher: Mit Pr
  • Purchase Benefits
  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
List Price: $24.95 Save up to $1.25
  • Buy New


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


America's postCold War strategic dominance and its pre-recession affluence inspired pundits to make celebratory comparisons to ancient Rome at its most powerful. Now, with America no longer perceived as invulnerable, engaged in protracted fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and suffering the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, comparisons are to the bloated, decadent, ineffectual later Empire. In Why America Is Not a New Rome,Vaclav Smil looks at these comparisons in detail, going deeper than the facile analogy-making of talk shows and glossy magazine articles. He finds profound differences. On the surface, the vision of America as the new Rome has resonance. There are obvious, intriguing parallels and amusing-even disconcerting-similarities. The America-Rome analogy deserves a closer look, and this is what Smil, a scientist and a lifelong student of Roman history, offers. He does this by focusing on several fundamental concerns: the very meaning of empire; the actual extent and nature of Roman and American power; the role of knowledge and innovation in the two states and the importance of machines and energy sources; and demographic and economic basics-population dynamics, illness, death, wealth, and misery. America is not a latter-day Rome, Smil finds, and we need to understand this in order to look ahead without the burden of counterproductive analogies. Superficial similarities do not imply long-term political, demographic, or economic outcomes identical to Rome's.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
America as a New Rome?p. 1
Nihil Novi Sub Solep. 3
Exempla Trahuntp. 3
Imperium Americanump. 11
Intentio Librip. 26
Why America Is Not a New Romep. 31
Empires, Powers, Limitsp. 35
What Is an Empire?p. 42
Roman Reach: Hyperboles and Realitiesp. 54
AmericaƆs Peculiar Hegemonyp. 64
Knowledge, Machines, Energyp. 79
Inventing New Worldsp. 81
Power of Machinesp. 98
Energy Sourcesp. 105
Life, Death, Wealthp. 115
Population Dynamicsp. 117
Illness and Deathp. 126
Wealth and Miseryp. 135
Why Comparisons Failp. 147
Historical Analogies and Their (Lack of) Meaningp. 149
Common Shortcomingsp. 149
Fundamental Differencesp. 158
One Worldp. 163
Notesp. 173
Referencesp. 197
Name Indexp. 217
Subject Indexp. 221
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

Rewards Program

Write a Review