Uncommon Knowledge with Bruce Thornton

Bruce Thornton is a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution and professor of classics and humanities at California State University, Fresno. He is the author of The Wages of Appeasement: Ancient Athens, Munich, and Obama’s America, forthcoming on March 15, as well as eight previous books including Bonfire of the Humanities: Rescuing the Classics in an Impoverished Age (with Victor Davis Hanson and John Heath) and Greek Ways: How the Ancient Greeks Created Western Civilization.
Professor Thornton’s new book provides case studies on Athens and Philip II, England and Germany, and America and jihad. It recalls Donald Kagan’s classic On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace, a book Thornton has clearly read and absorbed. Whereas Kagan’s theme was the persistence of power politics among states, Thornton’s is the democratic proclivity to buy off an enemy intent on one’s destruction or, as he calls it in the introduction, “the temptation of Hector.” For both Professors Kagan and Thornton, Thucydides provides the key.
Thornton begins his introduction with President Bush’s May 2008 speech to the Israeli Knesset, quoting this timely passage: “Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them that they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before.” Thornton recently sat down with Peter Robinson to discuss his new book. Through our arrangement with the Hoover Institution, we are pleased to present the interview in its entirety. Please check it out.

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