By reaching back to the imperial histories of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, this fascinating collection explores the passages that global powers traverse as they rise and fall. The volume makes some headway in distinguishing between various forms of empire -- tyrannical, totalitarian, hegemonic, democratic, and republican. Some authors reflect on the steps that Athens and Rome followed: the rise in power, the search for a peaceful order, and the transformation through war and ambition into brutal, overextended empires. Laurie Bagby examines how ancient Greece's direct democracy, by empowering its glory-seeking citizens, encouraged imperialism. Arthur Eckstein shows how the Roman Republic tried to contain militarism through laws and term limits, efforts that eventually broke down with the rise of Caesar. Susan Mattern provides perhaps the most useful lessons for the United States in her account of how Rome built an empire on more than just military might by working with existing institutions and constructing complex networks of alliances.
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In This Review
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