Are We Rome? Review
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The Founding Fathers often looked back to historic Rome for inspiration. Nearly each one was educated in the classics of Roman literature and art, and they used it as a model for what an ideal democracy should look like. So itís no wonder that even now Americans continue to compare our nation to what they imagine that Rome was.

Are We Rome?: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America by Cullen Murphy is the most recent book to explore this theme. As the managing editor of Atlantic Monthly, Murphy developed a leftist approach to life in America, and that comes through loud and strong in his book. His political biases only serve to detract from what should be a fascinating topic.

Murphyís look at the privatization of American government goes no deeper than a scathing tirade on Haliburtion and Wackenhut taking over functions that once, a hundred years ago, were performed by the government. The same problem occurs when he compares our Interstates to the Roman system of roads. And when he compares the Roman Caesars to our own president, he goes no further back than the current president to make his comparisons. By taking such a narrow view of American history, Murphy diminishes the quality of his book.

Murphy points to the excesses of Rome as the reason for the decline of that empire, and he then draws the corollary that America is in a serious state of decline. His reasoning is that America has simply become too big a player on the world stageóand now it canít bear its own weight. Never does he acknowledge the greatness of the nation or its ability to recognize its faults and correct them. In the end, itís a very depressing way to look at things.

Are We Rome? had the potential to be something special. Instead, the author took the low road and used the book to take jabs at the current administration. Not recommended for anyone but the staunchest of Howard Dean supporters.

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