From School Library Journal
Gr 7-9--Little will be learned about the history of ancient Rome from this polemical exposition of right-wing, libertarian philosophy. Maybury focuses more on the perceived evils of 20th-century governments than on a description of the Roman world. He attributes all the economic and political problems of today's society to the persistence of the ``Roman disease'' of imperial government and he faults teachers and politicians for failing to understand the pervasive influence of the ``Roman model'' over the centuries. In the form of chatty letters from ``Uncle Eric'' to ``Chris,'' the author inveighs against this Roman model of strong government that has led directly, he says, to Hitler, Mussolini, Zhirinovsky's rhetoric in Russia, and the chaotic conditions of Eastern Europe today. And yet, in a twisted bit of historical reasoning, he blames the evils of the anarchic Dark Ages of early Europe on the collapse of that very Roman system of government and law. The model the world should follow, according to Maybury, is ``common law,'' which is vaguely (and mistakenly) said to have originated in the Roman Republic before the growth of the Empire, and which is summed up in two basic natural laws--personal integrity and respect for property. These tenets of individualism are all that is needed, he says, to create true civilization and economic prosperity. The author supports this claim with maps, occasional quotations from the Founding Fathers, and a bibliography that lists his own writings and a few standard but dated history books about ancient Rome. Libraries can, and should, offer different political viewpoints, but this book is neither well-reasoned political science nor fact-based history. It's just propaganda.
Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.