The United States presides over the most far-flung imperial system ever established. This thoughful study compares the American Empire to those of the past, finding much can be learned from the fates of the British, Roman, Chinese, Incan, and Aztec empires. Rome, like the U.S., was a military superpower. And just as Rome s armies were stretched thin, so too are America s but Rome s leaders eventually gave up on conquering Scotland. Will the U.S. do the same in Iraq? Laxer draws omius parallels with the British, who discovered too late that empire building ultimately threatens the health of democracy at home. Documenting how the American Empire works and what it means to the rest of the world, Empire asks: Does the American Empire bring stability to a troubled world? Or, like its imperial predecessors, does it impose inequality and oppression on humanity? And what happens when an empire tumbles?