Empires of Trust by Thomas F. Madden
“History never repeats itself,” the Yale medievalist Roberto Lopez used to warn his students. “It only appears to do so, to those who do not pay attention to the details.” Most comparisons of the United States and imperial Rome operate in exactly the low-detail environment Lopez described. Rome was a republic; America is a republic. Rome had gladiators; America has football. Rome had barbarian invaders; America has illegal immigrants. Rome fell; so America must fall. What else does one need to know?
Quite a lot, actually. Analogies ought to be used to elucidate and explain, but the analogy between the United States and Rome is all too often used to scold, not to enlighten.
About the Author
David Frum is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a columnist for National Review Online.