This essay drews attention to two books on empires by historians which deserve the attention of sociologists. Bang's model of the workings of the Roman economy powerfully demonstrates the tributary nature of per-industrial tributary empires. Darwin's analysis concentrates on modern overseas empires, wholly different in character as they involved the transportation of consumption items for the many rather than luxury goods for the few. Darwin is especially good at describing the conditions of existence of late nineteenth century empires, noting that their demise was caused most of all by the failure of balance of power politics in Europe. Concluding thoughts are offered about the USA.