“As I mentioned awhile back, I devoted a good chunk of my vacation out west reading Piers Brendon’s The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781-1997. As you might imagine, I spent a lot of time thinking about possible parallels and lessons for America’s current global position, just as English imperialists spent a lot of time pondering the Roman experience (ably documented by Edward Gibbon).
In a tapestry this rich and varied, it is easy to read into it just about any ‘lesson’ one wants to draw. With that caveat in mind, here are the top ten lessons on empire that I drew from Brendon’s book. Even if you don’t agree with them, you should still read the book.”