What people are saying - Write a review
Volney’s Ruins is a book of general principles. It asks the question: is there not a universal principle that explains the rise and fall of empires?
Volney’s answer—empires rise if the government allows enlightened self-interest to flourish—explains human history during the 200+ years since the book's publication: from the rise of the US, to the fall of the USSR, to the recent emergence of the Arab Spring.
Leftists don't like Volney's Ruins because it represents a refutation of Rousseau's Social Contract. Rights don't like it because Volney concludes the book with an investigation of world religions and proposes a solution to religious conflicts that entails, among other things, a strict separation of church and state.
Thomas Jefferson liked Volney's Ruins so much he translated it into English. He saw the book as a means to teach future generations about the Enlightenment-based principle upon which the United States was founded. As you've already guessed, there's quite a bit of value here. It's too bad modern day academics have essentially dropped this ball--Volney's Ruins should be taught at every university in France and the US, and even worldwide for that matter.