We continue with out list of notable books published this year by friends of Power Line, followed by the authors’ messages summarizing their books or with my own comments. We posted part 1 last night. This post begins with a previously unpublished message from Melanie Phillips, whose superb book was issued with a new afterword for the paperback edition published earlier this year
Londonistan, by Melanie Phillips:
The mocking term “Londonistan” was bestowed upon the UK by the French secret service which was aghast that during the 1990s Britain allowed itself to become the hub of al Qaeda. In my book, however, I use “Londonistan” to describe a frame of mind in which the British elite has absorbed some of the very ideas and beliefs of the Islamist enemy that has targeted it. Although Britain’s security service is now monitoring no fewer than 2000 known British Muslim terrorists, 200 terror networks and 30 major terrorist plots, the UK still refuses to acknowledge that it is fighting principally on a battleground of ideas. In the confusion provoked by multiculturalism and sheer funk, its political and security establishment is not only failing to counter those ideas and the spread of extremism but has allowed Islamism to infiltrate all levels of British society, turning itself into a weak link in the defence of the west.
Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religions, by David Gelernter:
My book defines Americanism as a creed (liberty, equality and democracy for all mankind) in the context of “American Zionism” (which asserts that, having been blessed far beyond what it deserves, America has an obligation to promote this creed within in its borders and throughout the world). The book explains why the Bible and Christianity (especially the Old Testament and Puritan Christianity) were fundamental to the creation and shaping of Americanism.
It tries to explain why Americanism arouses such passionate love and hate–because it is no mere “civic religion”; it is a biblical religion in the Judeo-Christian tradition. (For Jews and Christians, Americanism is merely an extension of Judaism or Christianity–an application of old principles to new problems, in no sense a separate and competing religion. But many others, devout atheists included, have been passionate believers in Americanism too; for them it is a religion in its own right.)
Many secularists believe that this sort of talk is a form of intolerance or a call to theocracy. This is nonsense; they should give it up. Practicing Jews and Christians invented religious tolerance. (The great novelist Tolstoy wrote: “The Jew is the pioneer of liberty…. The Jew is the emblem of civil and religious toleration. `Love the stranger and the sojourner,’ Moses commands, `because you have been strangers in the land of Egypt.'”) And the Bible is firmly opposed to theocracy, and so are Judaism and Christianity–and Americanism.
When secularism merely seeks to sweep the public square free of religion, to drive it (like smoking) into places where the unwary are guaranteed not to stumble into it, it’s merely intolerant. But when it treats the creation of Americanism as a purely (or mainly) secular event, it warps the truth and seeks to replace history with propaganda. We ought not to let it succeed.
God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World, by Walter Russell Mead:
The conventional wisdom says that the history of the last 300 years is the story of the rise and fall of Europe. I think that is wrong. The main trend in world history has been the development and continuing growth of a global system of power, finance, culture, ideology and trade based first on the power of Britain and then on that of the United States. Since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Britain has only been defeated in one major great power war