American History & Future. “Are We Rome?” by Murphy


The book Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America gives a detailed analysis and comparisons between the United States and the Roman Empire. The author’s main subject matter revolves around the practices and developments recorded in the United States that have the potential to weaken the government and eventually lead to its demise. Using the case of Rome, the writer gives several recommendations that different leaders should consider to insulate the United States from the challenges and issues that befell this vast empire.

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Although the contexts of these two states differ significantly, the similarities and outlined issues are worth considering. The author of the book is Cullen Murphy. He has a strong academic background in medieval history and has worked as an editor for different magazines, such as The Washington Quarterly, The Common, and Vanity Fair. His works on contemporary politics and the history of Rome have expanded his knowledge, thereby making it easier for him to deliver high-quality and convincing information to the targeted readers of this book. In terms of context, the author focuses on the history of the Roman Empire and how it eventually collapsed.

Using this kind of information, the writer gives a detailed analysis of the problems that existed at the time and compares them with the major developments recorded in America today. This kind of knowledge becomes the foundation and thesis of this book whereby America faces a similar fate unless evidence-based precautions are put in place. The current wave of privatisation, its relationship with other nations, and border infiltrations should inform the intended discourse.

Book Review

Main Themes

The author of this text begins by giving a detailed analysis of America and why it should not be studied as a replica of Rome. The first observation is that Washington D.C. has become an important city that matches the success of Rome during the ancient period. The success of this empire is attributable to the strength of its armies. Similarly, America has remained a significant global leader due to the effectiveness and roles of its military forces.

The people of Rome were keen to focus on their demands while ignoring those of their neighbors (Murphy, 2007). The issue of protecting American borders resonates with the initiatives that Roman emperors undertook to support the existence and strength of this country. Such attributes present the similarities between Rome and America as one of the outstanding themes in the selected book.

The second one is the fate of America. The author argues that the decision to ignore the malpractices and trends recorded in Rome will affect the success and future of this nation. For instance, the country has remained reluctant to pursue honest goals and relate positively with neighbors and foreign forces (Murphy, 2007). The concept of privatization has become a major issue whereby most of the practices and economic models are informed by the demands and needs of the greatest number of capitalists and landowners in this country.

The end result is that the United States might be unable to promote or pursue public interests, thereby making it impossible for America to lose its current position of a global superpower. Failure to protect the nation’s borders from potential enemies emerges as a major predicament that might make it hard for this nation to realize its intended aims (Murphy, 2007). If this country is to overcome these challenges, the author encourages its leaders to consider the issue of autocracy, avoid outsourcing or offshoring military personnel to outsiders, avoid the privatization of different government projects and activities, and avoid underestimating stakeholders and people outside the country (Murphy, 2007).

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Giving the case of Rome, the author indicates that the government’s failure to consider these issues will make it impossible for this nation to retain its global hegemony. This theme is further explained or expanded by presenting detailed explanations of the malpractices and strategies that affected the existence and superiority of Rome as a vast empire.

The third theme identifiable from the studied text is the avoidance of Rome’s fate. The author has managed to offer insightful ideas and thoughts that American leaders should undertake to prevent its demise. The first one is for the government to have a true and sincere appreciation of the surrounding world. This is the case since the blindness of Roman emperors made it impossible for the state to emerge successful. The second suggestion is aimed at supporting the intended theme is the ability to fortify existing institutions and eventually promote assimilation (Murphy, 2007). This means that the leaders will be prepared against any form of immigration that might threaten the existence and superiority of this country.


The outstanding thesis from this book is that America needs to take the lessons gained from Rome seriously and protect its borders, avoid privatization of government activities, treat foreign countries fairly, and monitor any possible form of invasion in an attempt to remain powerful and successful (Harper, 2019). The introduction of superior policies that are informed by the challenges that befell Rome will ensure that it achieves its objectives. This means that the author sees America as a nation that resembles Rome in numerous ways. Additionally, it has increased chances of experiencing a similar fate unless it implements superior measures.

Author’s Perspective

After going through the selected book, it is agreeable that the author has a deep understanding of Rome, its history, and the issues that led to its collapse. This kind of perspective is what informs his treatment of the subject matter. He gives various similarities that are notable between the United States and ancient Rome. Consequently, he believes that this country has higher chances of going through a similar cycle if nothing is done to change the situation (Barlag, 2016). This kind of perspective is further supported by his understanding of the issues and challenges that befell Germany towards the end of the Second World War. These lessons and ideas have empowered his to offer meaningful ideas and concepts for ensuring that America increases its superiority.

Relationship with Topics Studied in Class

The developments and ideas described in the selected are related with most of the topics studied in class. Firstly, the rise and success of Rome resonates with the events and progressions recorded in the United States since the 18th century. With this kind of information, the author manages to encourage American leaders to be aware of the factors that made Rome successful and challenges that triggered its collapse. The class materials have revealed how the invasion of the Barbarians, changing religious values and beliefs, and internal power struggles affected the success of Rome.

Secondly, the topic on European society and the issues associated with the Renaissance era echoes the developments experienced in American after the infamous Revolutionary War (Barlag, 2016). The next years presented new opportunities for economic success, population growth, and improvement of its military strength. These issues are similar to the contributing factors that led to the success of the Roman Empire. Despite such gains and developments, Rome eventually collapsed and became obsolete. This means that the US should never ignore such predicaments since they might affect its future performance and existence as a global superpower (Murphy, 2007).

Thirdly, the fate of America depends on the measures and actions that those in leadership do or fail to do today. All citizens should take these insights seriously in order to support the success and sustainability of this nation.

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The content of this book presents powerful insights and ideas regarding Western history and civilization. This is the case since the author offers a detailed analysis of the strengths of Rome, its achievements, and various events that led to its collapse. Similar trends were recorded in other regions, including Greece, Israel, and Mediterranean. Nonetheless, the developments experienced in Western civilization results in new knowledge and ideas in the fields of governance, military, engineering, law, and science. The concept of religion gained new popularity with the Catholic Church taking advantage of the vacuum that emerged after the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 5th century (Murphy, 2007).

The analysis of this book, therefore, advances our understanding of Western civilization and history. It also presents evidence-based insights for taking the modern world to the next level, avoiding past mistakes, and engaging in activities that have the potential to promote the concept of human posterity (Barlag, 2016). Another outstanding observation is that Western history can become a timely reminder that failing to consider and address the challenges that different Western civilizations faced during the ancient period can affect the stability of modern states.

From the above discussions, concepts, ideas, and insights, it is agreeable that this book is convincing and worth reading. This is the case since the author has given a detailed description of the Roman Empire, its achievements, and the malpractices or misbehaviors that affected its survival. The writer goes further to consider and analyze how such developments might occur in America today and affect its future success.

Despite the presence of a strong and organized army, the Roman Empire eventually failed. Similarly, the leaders in America stand a chance to encounter the same challenges if significant changes and adjustments are not made today. The book identifies these key developments that should never be ignored: the issue of immigration, relationship with other countries, pursuit of national goals, and the problem of privatization (Barlag, 2016).

Despite such strengths and arguments, I believe that the author failed to consider the challenge of climatic degradation and how it can be combined with the presented ideas to ensure that America does not collapse. This means that the author could have borrowed additional ideas from the Greek and Mayan civilizations to make this text more convincing and capable of supporting the sustainability and future of the United States as a powerful and a sovereign state. In conclusion, Americans should consider the arguments presented in this book in an attempt to change existing policies and support its survival.


Barlag, P. (2016). The leadership genius of Julius Caesar: Modern lessons from the man who built an empire. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Harper, K. (2019). The fate of Rome: Climate, disease, and the end of an empire. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Murphy, C. (2007). Are we Rome? The fall of an empire and the fate of America. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, July 2). American History & Future. "Are We Rome?" by Murphy. Retrieved from

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"American History & Future. "Are We Rome?" by Murphy." StudyCorgi, 2 July 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "American History & Future. "Are We Rome?" by Murphy." July 2, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "American History & Future. "Are We Rome?" by Murphy." July 2, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "American History & Future. "Are We Rome?" by Murphy." July 2, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'American History & Future. "Are We Rome?" by Murphy'. 2 July.

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