I’ve spent the past week in residence at the Hoover Institution as a media fellow along with Richard Starr of the Weekly Standard and Cristina Aby-Azar of the Wall Street Journal Americas. It’s been a blast. Here are a few notes.
Among the highlights of the week has been the opportunity to catch up with Hoover research fellow, author and Dartmouth College trustee Peter Robinson. Peter is the host of Uncommon Knowledge, the Internet successor to William Buckley’s Firing Line. Peter’s How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life is his portrait of Ronald Reagan deriving from his work as a speechwriter in the White House over six years that shook the world. Peter was not only there with Reagan, he helped the man shake it up.
As a media fellow, I was set up in an office and given my leave to follow my interests for the week. As Richard Starr put it, much was given and little was asked. The bookshelves in my office in the Lou Henry Hoover Building where I am writing are lined with books written by Hoover scholars including Thomas Sowell, Martin Anderson, Victor Davis Hanson and the late Admiral James Stockdale.
In the ranks of American honor, no man stands before Stockdale, the senior American officer who led the American prisoners of war in the Hanoi Hilton and received the Medal of Honor in recognition of his service there. The New York Sun saluted Stockdale in a superb editorial published in 2005 (written, I believe, by Seth Lipsky) on the occasion of Stockdale’s death at age 81.
While at Hoover this week I pulled Admiral Stockdale’s In Love and War off the shelf to read. The title alludes to Stockdale’s having written the book in alternating sections with his wife Sybil. What a powerful book; Richard Starr says it should have been two books. If so, what a powerful two books. In any event, I commend it to your attention.
The first scholar I ever associated with the Hoover Institution was Robert Conquest, still in residence at Hoover. If there is such a thing as a heroic work of scholarship, Conquest’s The Great Terror, originally published in 1968, is the real deal. Conquest denies having suggested the new title I Told You So, You F***ing Fools for the updated edition of this classic work on Stalin’s murderous purges of the 1930’s; Conquest credits Kingsley Amis.
At the invitation of Professor Joel Brinkley, I spoke about our experience with Power Line in Professor Brinkley’s Stanford graduate journalism class. Professor Brinkley is the Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter. He writes a weekly column, of which the most recent addresses the desirability of capturing or killing bin Laden. Like Professor Brinkley himself, Professor Brinkley’s students were hospitable and gracious. Although I was prepared for the students’ hostility, if there was any, they saved it until I left.
During my week here I also met up with four students at Stanford Law School: Gabriel Ledeen, Evan Berquist, Jordan Teti, and Anthony Dick. These are all outstanding young men who stand to make substantial contributions to the legal profession and offer hope for America’s future.
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