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America's Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires, Superpowers . . . and the Future of the United States

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What is wrong with America today? Is it possible that America could crumble and our democracy fail?Questions like these plague Americans and cause us to be anxious about the future of the "land that we love." Individuals may come to different conclusions, but there seems to be a common thread - the deep-seated feeling that we need to improve our country. Our culture is inc What is wrong with America today? Is it possible that America could crumble and our democracy fail?Questions like these plague Americans and cause us to be anxious about the future of the "land that we love." Individuals may come to different conclusions, but there seems to be a common thread - the deep-seated feeling that we need to improve our country. Our culture is increasingly immoral, the family structure is threatened from all sides, and government programs consistently overreach, creating massive debt.In this powerful and prophetic book, nationally syndicated columnist and trusted political commentator Cal Thomas offers a diagnosis of what exactly is wrong with the United States by drawing parallels to once-great empires and nations that declined into oblivion. Citing the historically proven 250-year pattern of how superpowers rise and fall, he predicts that America's expiration date is just around the corner and shows us how to escape their fate.Through biblical insights and hard-hitting truth, he reminds us that real change comes when America looks to God instead of Washington. Scripture, rather than politics, is the GPS he uses to point readers to the right road - a road of hope, life, and change. Because, he says, if we're willing to seek God first, learn from history, and make changes at the individual and community level, we can not only survive, but thrive, again.This powerful, timely, and much-needed perspective is a must-read for anyone who longs for a promising future for our great nation.


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What is wrong with America today? Is it possible that America could crumble and our democracy fail?Questions like these plague Americans and cause us to be anxious about the future of the "land that we love." Individuals may come to different conclusions, but there seems to be a common thread - the deep-seated feeling that we need to improve our country. Our culture is inc What is wrong with America today? Is it possible that America could crumble and our democracy fail?Questions like these plague Americans and cause us to be anxious about the future of the "land that we love." Individuals may come to different conclusions, but there seems to be a common thread - the deep-seated feeling that we need to improve our country. Our culture is increasingly immoral, the family structure is threatened from all sides, and government programs consistently overreach, creating massive debt.In this powerful and prophetic book, nationally syndicated columnist and trusted political commentator Cal Thomas offers a diagnosis of what exactly is wrong with the United States by drawing parallels to once-great empires and nations that declined into oblivion. Citing the historically proven 250-year pattern of how superpowers rise and fall, he predicts that America's expiration date is just around the corner and shows us how to escape their fate.Through biblical insights and hard-hitting truth, he reminds us that real change comes when America looks to God instead of Washington. Scripture, rather than politics, is the GPS he uses to point readers to the right road - a road of hope, life, and change. Because, he says, if we're willing to seek God first, learn from history, and make changes at the individual and community level, we can not only survive, but thrive, again.This powerful, timely, and much-needed perspective is a must-read for anyone who longs for a promising future for our great nation.

30 review for America's Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires, Superpowers . . . and the Future of the United States

  1. 5 out of 5

    Clay Davis

    The author left out the Japanese, Chinese and Mongol empires. The 250 year lifespan of empires is not a hard and fast rule. There were not many examples of America's age of pioneers and arts given. Learned about this book from the Rush Limbaugh talk radio program. The author left out the Japanese, Chinese and Mongol empires. The 250 year lifespan of empires is not a hard and fast rule. There were not many examples of America's age of pioneers and arts given. Learned about this book from the Rush Limbaugh talk radio program.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ronald J.

    Cal Thomas is worried: “The nation that I love is in danger of losing its greatness.” He gives us a thought experiment: “Just for fun, let’s say you have received advance knowledge from a reliable source that on July 4, 2026, the world will end.” He cites Sir John Glubb, a World War I veteran, career British soldier, and a scholar and author, writing twenty-one books and hundreds of articles. Glubb posits that the average age of a nation or empire’s greatness is 250 years. “This average,” he wri Cal Thomas is worried: “The nation that I love is in danger of losing its greatness.” He gives us a thought experiment: “Just for fun, let’s say you have received advance knowledge from a reliable source that on July 4, 2026, the world will end.” He cites Sir John Glubb, a World War I veteran, career British soldier, and a scholar and author, writing twenty-one books and hundreds of articles. Glubb posits that the average age of a nation or empire’s greatness is 250 years. “This average,” he writes, “has not varied for 3,000 years.” Sir John found patterns, or stages, of the rise and fall of great nations: the age of pioneers, the age of conquests, the age of commerce, the age of affluence, the age of intellect, and finally the age of decadence. “In most cases, the entity in question does not simply disappear after 250 years but staggers on in a much less dynamic and influential state. they never return to their greatness.” Are we doomed to prove Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s famous line, “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.” Thomas warns us: “No nation can survive on inertia, on the sacrifices and investments of past generations.” The book consists of a look at eight empires, all of which declined and lost their greatness: The Persian Empire; The Roman Empire; The Byzantine Empire; The Arab Empire; The Spanish Empire; The Ottoman Empire; The British Empire; and The Russian Empire. Is the USA next? There’s a chapter explaining each empire’s rise and fall, written concisely yet still interesting style. Of course, not all empires declined in 250 years, some took longer, but the point remains. He quotes the following from Edward Gibbon: “THE FIVE MARKS OF THE ROMAN DECAYING CULTURE: CONCERN WITH DISPLAYING AFFLUENCE INSTEAD OF BUILDING WEALTH; OBSESSION WITH SEX AND PERVERSIONS OF SEX; ART BECOMES FREAKISH AND SENSATIONALISTIC INSTEAD OF CREATIVE AND ORIGINAL; WIDENING DISPARITY BETWEEN VERY RICH AND VERY POOR; INCREASED DEMAND TO LIVE OFF THE STATE.” —Edward Gibbon, author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. When Thomas turns to the USA, he cites two speeches by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, “MEN HAVE FORGOTTEN GOD” and his commencement address at Harvard, both of which the elites and editorial writers hated. I believe both are excellent, and worth re-reading every so often as a reminder of what’s important. You may not agree with Thomas’s assessment of the indicators of America’s decline (abortion, family dissolution, etc.), but it will make you think about the direction our country is heading. Politicians cannot transform human nature, and our problems cannot be solved politically—only spiritually and morally. Dostoevsky drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that “revolution must necessarily begin with atheism.” Thomas writes: “Whenever I hear the song ‘God Bless America’ sung at baseball games and patriotic events, I ask myself, Why should he?” It’s a good question, and this book will make you think about the possible answers.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Keating

    It was ok. I kinda liked brushing up on the decline of the major empires that sets the reason why he thinks America is on the decline. A little pessimistic even though it was published in 2020 it's kinda outdated because it was before COVID and BLM riots. It was ok. I kinda liked brushing up on the decline of the major empires that sets the reason why he thinks America is on the decline. A little pessimistic even though it was published in 2020 it's kinda outdated because it was before COVID and BLM riots.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Don

    morality, stages, self over others

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    This is a cautionary book that draws the comparison between America & the major empires down through time. Thomas uses a historians work on empires that came to the conclusion that every empire has basically only lasted 250 years. This premise puts the USA close to that end date. The author leads us along many of the empires that we studied in school. Each one had a pattern of success to decadence. Some empires limped along past the 250 line, but they were never what they used to be. There are o This is a cautionary book that draws the comparison between America & the major empires down through time. Thomas uses a historians work on empires that came to the conclusion that every empire has basically only lasted 250 years. This premise puts the USA close to that end date. The author leads us along many of the empires that we studied in school. Each one had a pattern of success to decadence. Some empires limped along past the 250 line, but they were never what they used to be. There are obvious lessons to be learned. Virtue is a redeeming point not just for an individual but for a nation also. A good book if you like some history & are concerned with the direction of our country.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Hill

    Excellent and heart wrenching. This is not a fun book to read but it is truth. America lives in the age of decadence. Only repentance and turning to the sovereign God is the only hope for a country headed down the path of empires before us.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    The downfall of America will be because we just are not good Christians? That's about all I got from this read. I agree we need more spirituality as a nation. But more dogma and religiousity? The downfall of America will be because we just are not good Christians? That's about all I got from this read. I agree we need more spirituality as a nation. But more dogma and religiousity?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cwinter

    eye opening book about the state of our United States. We all need to be influencing those around us since our nation needs saved morally and spiritually. Answer is not politics.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jim Wesberry

    IS THIS WARNING TOO LATE? Has the USA already collapsed? If not quite yet there can be little doubt that the end is near based upon the quite obvious, but always ignored, facts and histories revealed in this prophetic book. The author feels that it is not yet too late and concludes with hopeful advice. He is more optimistic than I. But God bless him and all that make a last attempt to save the USA.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Regan Leigh

    Stating the obvious While not quite an “intellectual” read, author makes very clear the repercussions of the abandonment of Christian morality, unsustainable spending and debt, and a corrupt press corps on the short future of our nation.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Meyer

    Five years. That’s all America has left. No, Cal Thomas isn’t a self-proclaimed prophet who’s interpreted the signs and concluded that we’re going to experience some cataclysmic apocalypse in 2026. Rather, 250 years is the average length of time of the rise and fall of superpowers and empires, according to a historical pattern of other nations, which has not varied for 3000 years. If you do the math, 1776 + 250 = 2026. Is there anything that can be done to change this? According to Cal Thomas, yes Five years. That’s all America has left. No, Cal Thomas isn’t a self-proclaimed prophet who’s interpreted the signs and concluded that we’re going to experience some cataclysmic apocalypse in 2026. Rather, 250 years is the average length of time of the rise and fall of superpowers and empires, according to a historical pattern of other nations, which has not varied for 3000 years. If you do the math, 1776 + 250 = 2026. Is there anything that can be done to change this? According to Cal Thomas, yes, but change must begin on the individual level. Morality and a change of heart cannot be legislated. (Nor, quite frankly, would it be in modern-day America, but I digress.) Thomas summarizes the rise and fall of eight historic empires or superpowers, then ends by discussing America. Depending upon your knowledge of and interest in history, you might find his summaries either fairly dry or overly simplified. Nonetheless, it is important to know and learn from history, although as Thomas quotes from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” Indeed. For each of his examples (including our beloved America) follows the same loose pattern of the following stages: The Age of Pioneers The Age of Conquests The Age of Commerce The Age of Affluence The Age of Intellect The Age of Decadence It doesn’t take much to figure out what stage America is currently in, especially when one looks at the characteristics of the stage of decadence: Defensivess Pessimism Materialism Frivolity An influx of foreigners The welfare state Weakening of religion Check, check, check, check, check, check, and check. I have long been saying the same thing as Cal Thomas, though in a much less eloquent manner. America is quickly deteriorating and following the same pattern as fallen empires of the past. Will people look back 400 years from now and study the former glory of the “American Empire” much as we look back upon the Roman Empire of the past? After the 2020 election, I wrote a blog post that included the following: History shows us again and again that when a society abandons family values, they fall. The Greek and Roman civilizations, for example, were once great on the earth but fell into decline. Dr. Carle Zimmerman (American sociologist, 1897-1983) identified eleven ”symptoms of final decay” (18th slide) observed from both the Greek and Roman civilizations, and every one of them describes modern-day America. Why should we be so presumptuous as to believe our country will last when others as great or greater have fallen? Historian Arnold Toynbee said, “Out of twenty-one notable civilizations, nineteen perished not by conquest from without but by moral decay from within.” Take note, America. This is where we are. So is it hopeless? Cal Thomas gives steps to follow in his final chapter under the section entitled, “There’s Still Time.” He gives good, solid advice, but I fear the people reading his book are those who are already doing these things. Frankly, I’m not nearly as optimistic as he comes across in this book that things can or will change (although, let’s be honest, he *has* to have a hopeful message or no one would want to read it). I think America is past its expiration, and this is well deserved. We’ve allowed such a terrible state of moral decay that we *should* be “dethroned” from our high status as the current world superpower. I appreciate that Thomas writes this book from a Christian perspective, and he calls upon Christians to be more vocal about their faith and values. He calls upon us to be more persistent in prayer. “What appears that we like to do the least—pray—is what is most effective in achieving the ends we seek,” he says. All major American spiritual revivals began with a “concert of prayer.” So pray, Christians! Pray like you believe God will answer, because He will. Our times, as well as the times of our nation, are in God’s hands, and that is a comforting thought. Thomas ends with this thought: “Ulimtately, though, Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ (John 18:36). Keep that at the forefront of your mind as you consider into which kingdom you intend to invest most of your thoughts, time, money, and efforts.” Indeed, no matter whether America has 5 more years or 500 more, the Christian has an eternal kingdom to look forward to, and an inheritance in heaven that will never perish or fade.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    This book chronicles the history of great empires that have fallen, comparing them to the trajectory to the United States. I enjoyed learning more about the history of the civilizations featured, but felt the correlations drawn were weak and could have been developed more. There was an emphasis on the country needing a revival, which I agree with wholeheartedly. I agree that things could drastically improve if more people turned to Jesus and lived true Christian lives, but I don't see that being This book chronicles the history of great empires that have fallen, comparing them to the trajectory to the United States. I enjoyed learning more about the history of the civilizations featured, but felt the correlations drawn were weak and could have been developed more. There was an emphasis on the country needing a revival, which I agree with wholeheartedly. I agree that things could drastically improve if more people turned to Jesus and lived true Christian lives, but I don't see that being realistic for majority of the increasingly secular county. Jesus can work miracles, however. I wish this book was longer to further expand upon the ideas presented. It was interesting, even though I did not agree with some of the points mentioned and felt the author was leaning towards a detrimental form of Christian thinking with some of his viewpoints.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Think of the great empires of the world that now are only remembered on pages of history books. These ancient and almost current histories have much to teach and remember if only the present "empires" would take a lesson. Unfortunately, history repeats itself. I took notes on these empires, looking up more information on the web as I read along: the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, down to the Russian Empire to present day United States Empire, so to speak. I found particu Think of the great empires of the world that now are only remembered on pages of history books. These ancient and almost current histories have much to teach and remember if only the present "empires" would take a lesson. Unfortunately, history repeats itself. I took notes on these empires, looking up more information on the web as I read along: the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, down to the Russian Empire to present day United States Empire, so to speak. I found particularly interesting the Arab Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Russian Empire. The prophetic voice of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn is heard in the last two appendices, two speeches he gave here in the United States, and his voice speaks to our generation, to our nation's sinking with insight and warnings. This 184 page book packs in historical lessons Americans should heed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aidan Pretti

    I expected this book to be a history book that compared the faults of historical empires to today. The historical writing behind it was pretty shaky (he cites the Bible as a source of historical knowledge), and he ends up ascribing the decline of most the empires to “moral decline” or “decadence”. Worse though, the latter part of this book abandoned any pretenses of being a history novel in favor of religious fervor. I did learn some neat bits of information about the various empires, but becaus I expected this book to be a history book that compared the faults of historical empires to today. The historical writing behind it was pretty shaky (he cites the Bible as a source of historical knowledge), and he ends up ascribing the decline of most the empires to “moral decline” or “decadence”. Worse though, the latter part of this book abandoned any pretenses of being a history novel in favor of religious fervor. I did learn some neat bits of information about the various empires, but because I don’t see the rise of secular morality in America as the driver of it’s doom, I couldn’t get into this book. Then again, I don’t think I’m the intended audience.

  15. 5 out of 5

    LAMONT D

    I LIKE A BOOK THAT IS EASY TO READ, THAT I LEARN SOMETHING NEW, IS HISTORICAL IN NATURE AND YET CONTAINS A CHALLENGE FOR THE FUTURE. CAL THOMAS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE JOURNALISTS SO HE GETS HIGH MARKS JUST FOR HIS PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE AND HOW HE SEES THE WORLD THAT WE LIVE IN. CERTAINLY WE CAN LEARN FROM THE PAST, BUT WILL WE SEE OUR GREAT COUNTRY FALL BY THE WAYSIDE BECAUSE OF THE REASONS HE LAYS OUT IN THE BOOK? THE MORE IMPORTANT CHALLENGE IS WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT AS INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marianne Perry

    Thought provoking. “The one thing you cannot change is what is inside any and every person: their human nature.” “When hearts are changed, attitudes are changed, and the result is a changed nation. It never works from the top down but always from the bottom up-or more precisely, from the inside out.” And so the change rests inside each and all is us.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nolan

    Filled with boomerisms and ahistorical nonsense, this book would have needed to be at least 300 pages longer to be at all reflective of its intended purpose. The author interjects the material with cameos of people throughout history, but chose to present his own hot takes, rather than historically relevant information.

  18. 4 out of 5

    John

    A nice history lesson, but a weak attempt at forcing America's history to fit the same pattern of introduction, growth, maturity and decline as did a number of empires that rose and fell during a 250 year period. A nice history lesson, but a weak attempt at forcing America's history to fit the same pattern of introduction, growth, maturity and decline as did a number of empires that rose and fell during a 250 year period.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brent Keck

    Good review of the history of nations who were once great and the causes of their decline as related to the future for the United States. Thomas's solutions are not political nor cultural, but a call to return to the founding ideals of the nation. Good review of the history of nations who were once great and the causes of their decline as related to the future for the United States. Thomas's solutions are not political nor cultural, but a call to return to the founding ideals of the nation.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    The history lesson was interesting. Definitely not anything I remember learning about, in detail, in school. Some of the points were broad and ambiguous. What I did not like was how the authors views felt very politically slanted and there was an overwhelming amount of preaching the bible.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bobbie

    Thomas recounts the rise and fall of the world's major empires and recounts the steps towards decline as outlined by Sir John Glubb. Noting that the average survival for an empire is 250 years, Thomas gives his belief that America is in the final stage, Decadence Thomas recounts the rise and fall of the world's major empires and recounts the steps towards decline as outlined by Sir John Glubb. Noting that the average survival for an empire is 250 years, Thomas gives his belief that America is in the final stage, Decadence

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    I agree with the premise and conclusion, but it seemed like Mr. Thomas phoned it in. The writing seemed hastily thrown together and the histories were lazily researched.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dr. Steve and Betsy Pollock

    Wake up people of Christian faith.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Engle

    Educational, thought provoking and inspirational I definitely recommend it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    terrence

    Shrill. Last half.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Evan l. Bench

    Great but Sad You make a great debate for us going either way. I tend to lean toward expiring. Thanks for a great read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lloyd Hinkle

    It is a thought provoking comparison to other empires that have faded

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    I appreciated the historical comparisons but way to churchy

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan Kissel

    There’s so many flaws in his arguments and so much bigoted language. I appreciate his lack of partisanship in the US but his views are so extreme.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Celiaj

    Informative I struggled reading so much history but it made a distinct impression. I would recommend anyone interested in seeing American stay great to read it and think.

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