Books: The Yankees as Caesars

THE AMERICAN EMPIRE by Amaury de Riencourt. 366 pages. Dial. $7.50.

The notion that Americans are 'The New Romans" has been dealt with before in a variety of contexts. Most recently, a group of essayists put together a book by that name, describing the spread of American legions into Canada. In The American Empire, French Historian Amaury de Riencourt (The Coming Caesars) takes up the subject once again. De Riencourt specializes in sweeping, Toynbee-like historical patterns, especially symmetrical parallels between the Roman past and the American present. He has the indispensable arrogance of a born generalizer who, with mixed...

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