Why did I love this book?
Gibbon’s masterpiece first gave me the idea for The Last Stoic. In 2003, as American tanks rolled into Baghdad, I’d finally worked up the nerve to read the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. It lives up to its reputation: it is a rich and rewarding read. Gibbon is rightly lauded for the grace of his prose, which is full of wit and insight. But what struck me most, in passages describing how the ancient “golden age” had passed from prosperity and relative peace to decay and continual war, is how closely the trajectory of the contemporary American empire mirrors that of the Roman empire. Admittedly, reading this series is an undertaking. But it is a worthwhile investment you will not regret.