The Annals of Imperial Rome
Why this book?
Ancient Rome's greatest historian is also one of its greatest writers. In sharp, bitter, brilliant sentences he chronicles the rise of the tyrannical emperors who succeeded Julius Caesar. His passionate anger at the loss of Roman liberties for the sake of wealth and security will alarm you; but his description of the hollowing out of Rome's political, judicial, military, and religious institutions until nothing remains but terror will freeze your blood.