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Beginning on Mon., Jan. 8, David Gilmour (Ph.D., Classics, Univ. of Washington) will lead Digging Deeper XL in a four-week examination of some recent books that draw parallels between the Roman Empire and the United States:  --  Cullen Murphy's Are We Rome?: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America (Houghton Mifflin, 2007);  --  Charles S. Maier, Among Empires: American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors (Harvard UP, 2007);  --  Terry Jones’ Barbarians: An Alternative Roman History (BBC Books, 2007);  --  and John Pilger's Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire (Nation Books, 2007).  --  There is no charge for participation and sessions are open to the public.  --  Digging Deeper meets Mondays from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café in Tacoma....

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WHAT:  Digging Deeper XL: Are We Rome?
WHO:  Led by David Gilmour
WHEN:  Monday, January 7, 14, 21, & 28, 2008 — 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
WHERE:  Mandolin Café, 3923 South 12th St., Tacoma, WA 98405

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United for Peace
of Pierce County (WA)
Study Circle:
January 7, 14, 21, & 28, 2008
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DIGGING DEEPER XL:  Are We Rome?

There is nothing original in comparing Ancient Rome with the United States: the two societies have been constantly compared since the founding of the Republic, and our architecture, our legal terminology, our literary tradition, even the names of many of our newspapers (the News Tribune, the Mercury News) proclaim our affiliation to Rome.  But with the growth of the military-industrial complex in the aftermath of the World War II and the emergence of the U.S. national security state as a pretender to global hegemony, parallels with Rome’s historical trajectory have become more urgent and insistent.  The publication this year of Are We Rome? by Cullen Murphy is an occasion to scrutinize this historical parallel.

Beginning on Mon., Jan. 7, 2008, David Gilmour, who holds a Ph.D. in Classics from University of Washington, will lead a four-week examination of the theme centered on four volumes:

Cullen Murphy, Are We Rome?: The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America (Houghton Mifflin, 2007).  “Lurid images of America as a new Roman Empire—either striding [sic] the globe or tottering toward collapse, or both—are fashionable among pundits of all stripes these days.  Vanity Fair editor Murphy (The World According to Eve) gives the trope a more restrained and thoughtful reading.  He allows that, with its robust democracy, dynamic economy and technological wizardry, America is a far cry from Rome's static slave society.  But he sees a number of parallels. . . . Some of the links Murphy draws . . . especially his likening of the corrupt Roman patronage system to America's mania for privatizing government services -- a ‘deflection of public purpose by private interest’ -- are specific and compelling.  Murphy wears his erudition lightly.”  —Publishers Weekly.

Charles S. Maier, Among Empires: American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors (Harvard UP, 2007).  “Harvard historian Maier’s brilliant study of the nature of imperial power throughout history offers a glimpse not only at the character of empire but also at how the current American political regime measures up to past empires. . . . All empires require military supremacy as well as a class of élite rulers who seek to control human and natural resources.  Violence is a component of empires, both on the part of those who resist empire and on the part of the ruling class. . . . Maier's subtle study brooks no rivals in its assessment of American empire.”  —Publishers Weekly.

Terry Jones and Alan Ereira, Terry Jones’ Barbarians: An Alternative Roman History (BBC Books, 2007).  “In the Monty Python film Life of Brian, a member of the People's Front of Judea asks, ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’ (apart from, of course, the ‘sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system, and public health’).  The director of that movie—and now popular historian—Jones (Who Murdered Chaucer?), along with Ereira (The People's England), now answer the question:  a bit, but nowhere near as much as the barbarians did.  Jones attempts to overturn the popular conception of the glorious Roman Empire, which he says is mostly propaganda.  . . . [R]eaders will go along for a most enjoyable ride.”  —Publishers Weekly.

John Pilger, Freedom Next Time: Resisting the Empire (Nation Books, 2007).  Pilger “surveys five countries where freedom has been deferred”:  Diego Garcia, Israel, India, South Africa, and Afghanistan.  “This highly informed, thoughtful, and passionate work is as important a thread in the world’s growing tapestry of political counternarratives as those of Dee Brown or Howard Zinn.” —Publishers Weekly.

MEETING SCHEDULE -- Mondays from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA.

No charge for participation.  Some copies available for loan or sale.  Contact:  Mark Jensen (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 253-756-7519).

Regular meetings of United for Peace of Pierce County are held at 6:30 p.m. on 1st Thursdays and at 7:00 p.m. on 3rd Thursdays at First Congregational Church, 209 S. “J” St., Tacoma, WA.

***********************************
United for Peace
of Pierce County (WA)
Study Circle:
January 7, 14, 21, & 28, 2008
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