How Government in the Ancient World Tried to Deal with Modern Problems
What a fantastic way to learn ancient history: via the parallels with modern times.
At every step he draws a parallel with modern times. Modern governments also destroy the money to fund the state, extend vast military empires that are unmanageable, try to control the market order, and attempt to rig political decision making in order to buy off the population.
The comparisons between then and now generate ominous lessons for our times.
This book was a smash hit when it first came out in 1939, and yet it went out of print, and hasn't been in print in half a century.
The writing is clear, the research impeccable, and it teaches modern and ancient history in one entertaining yet scholarly package.
What a triumph of research and writing this book is!
Haskell does a fabulous job of mixing interesting anecdotes with the broader history of the Roman Empire.
As the United States currently finds itself degenerating rapidly, it's important to seek out historical parallels.
This book shows that the welfare-warfare state is hardly a new concept and was tried in antiquity.
It's impressive that Haskell noticed these similarities.
I highly suggest this book for those interested in Roman history.
I came across an original hardcover 1939 edition of this book several years ago, so have had ample time to read and digest it. It is, indeed, an engrossing history of an ancient Rome that few people know beyond the simple "bread and circuses" phrase. If nothing else, those who enjoy reading about life in ancient Rome and such will find it interesting. Too, it is an interesting window on the times in which it was written, the turmoil of the New Deal - Yes! There were people then who did not believe in omnipotent government! So, an interesting read that I am glad is back in print for modern readers.
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