I’m nearly done with Tom Holland’s quite interesting and engaging book Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic. It’s well written and has helped me to understand better the way in which the Roman republic evolved and then imploded. At the same time, Holland goes out of his way to make connections to contemporary politics that are pretty tenuous, including constant references to “big business,” which seems a rather anachronistic concept. I’m also re-reading Henry Sumner Maine’s great old book Ancient Law: Its Connections with the Early History of Society, and Its Relation to Modern Ideas. I’m finding the two to be mutually illuminating. (I picked up Rubicon at an airport bookstore and saw that it was endorsed by Anthony Everitt, whose Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician I enjoyed immensely.)
And speaking of brilliant books, I’m very pleased with Olaf Gersemann’s Cowboy Capitalism: European Myths, American Reality, which we’re publishing at the Cato Institute. It’s the book to read to understand what’s going on in the American economy. As Milton Friedman wrote of the book,
“This is a comprehensive, indeed truly encyclopedic, comparison of economic conditions and policies in the United States with those in Germany, France, and Italy. Gersemann, a German journalist based in the United States, provides detailed evidence to support his devastating rejection of common European fallacies about the American economy. A real treasure trove of thoughtful analysis.”
Also endorsing the book have been Steven Landsburg, James M. Buchanan, Henry M. Paulson, Jr. (Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Group), and Leszek Balcerowicz, former Finance Minister of Poland. It’s definitely worth buying. (NOTE: You can also buy Cowboy Capitalism from Laissez Faire Books, although it doesn’t seem to be listed on their site yet. People in north America can call 1-800-326-0996 to order copies from LFB.