Books

CRB: No buyer for Breyer

Featured image Stephen Breyer seems to me the ne plus ultra leftist progressive on the Supreme Court. I assume that’s one of the reasons why Justice Scalia relished sparring with him. No left-wing dogma is beyond Breyer and he seeks to overlay the absurd with an intellectual patina. His interest in the United States Constitution approaches nullity. Indeed, to borrow an Athenian indictment, Justice Breyer seeks to introduce new gods to constitutional »

Jean Edward Smith’s Burning Bush

Featured image I’m not going to read Jean Edward Smith’s new biography of George W. Bush for three reasons, one of them coming directly from Smith himself. Smith, the acclaimed biographer of John Marshall, Lucius Clay, and Dwight Eisenhower, once advised me: “Never write a biography of a living person.” He gave lots of good reasons for this counsel, many of which can be easily surmised. I was a little surprised, therefore, »

Our Fractured Republic

Featured image In a recent podcast, Steve talked with Yuval Levin about his brilliant new book, The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in an Age of Individualism. In the interview, Yuval summarized the book’s themes and some of its key arguments. The discussion begins at around the 19 minute mark. At 21 minutes, Yuval sets forth his core thesis. At 23 minutes, he begins his critique of contemporary conservatism. I can’t »

Catch-22, IRS style

Featured image This past Friday the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals partly reinstated the lawsuits brought by two groups — True the Vote and Linchpins of Liberty — that had sued the IRS over its targeting of conservative or Tea Party-type organizations seeking 501(1)(c)(3) status. The court has resurrected the groups’ claims for relief enjoining the IRS against continued discriminatory treatment. The D.C. Circuit opinion is posted here and is worth reading. »

The Power Line Show, Episode 40: DNC First Reads, Scott Pumps Iron with Charlie Rangel, and Yuval Levin

Featured image Tune in for Episode #40 of the Power Line Show, which offers our reactions and analysis to the first night of the Democratic National Convention as well as reflections on Trump’s coronation last week; also, we rib Scott Johnson for running away to a Trump-branded health spa in Florida that did not offer Trump steaks, but did offer Scott the opportunity to exercise with legendary Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel. Finally, »

Summer reading

Featured image NRO takes time out from politics to offer summer reading suggestions. The recommendations come from Richard Brookhiser, Nancy French, Kathryn Jean Lopez, David Pryce-Jones, Tevi Troy, Ian Tuttle, Hans von Spakovsky, and Kevin Williamson. I can recommend two of the books cited. The first is Karl Rove’s The Triumph of William McKinley. I wrote about that book here and here. The second is Yuval Levin’s The Fractured Republic, a brilliant »

Heather Mac Donald: Our legal order frays

Featured image Heather Mac Donald is the author of the book of the moment if not the year: The War On Cops: How the New Attack On Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe. This is the book’s chapter 11, “America’s Legal Order Begins to Fray.” Heather writes: “I’m deliberately not getting involved in things I would have in the 1990s and 2000s,” an emergency-services officer in New York City tells me. »

Don Surber’s “Trump the Press”

Featured image The independent internet journalist Don Surber has produced a terrific short catalogue and analysis of how everyone—but especially the conservative commentariat—missed or misunderstood the rise of Donald Trump. You can order the e-book version of Trump the Press: Don Surber’s Take on How the Pundits Blew the 2016 Republican Race directly from Amazon subsidiary CreateSpace. The book is a wonderful catalogue of all the pundits who completely dismissed Trump from »

Trump University, for Real

Featured image The Chronicle of Higher Education emailed me a few weeks ago asking for a book recommendation or two for background reading to understand the Trump phenomenon. I recommended Jeffrey Bell’s fine 1992 book Populism and Elitism: Politics in the Age of Equality. (I think I also recommended Christopher Lasch’s The Revolt of the Elites.) As I explained to the Chronicle, Bell predicted that the conflict between left and right would be »

Taya Kyle pins Jesse Ventura on appeal

Featured image I wrote about Jesse Ventura’s defamation/unjust enrichment lawsuit against the estate of Chris Kyle in “American Sniper on trial” and in “American Sniper on trial: The verdict” and in American Sniper on trial: The appeal.” The case arises from a couple of pages now excised from the book about Kyle’s close encounter with Ventura at a bar in southern California. Ventura alleged that the story Kyle recounted was false and »

“Days of Rage” revisited

Featured image Bryan Burrough’s book Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence was published in paperback this past April. I read the book when it came out in hardcover last year and flipped over it. I recommend it highly to Power Line readers. Trying to copy Jay Nordlinger’s approach in his Impromptus columns at NR, I wrote about the book in “Notes on Days »

Loose Ends (4)

Featured image Today turns out to be the 75th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’s famous lecture/sermon “The Weight of Glory.” You can read the whole thing at the link, but Justin Taylor also offers a good retrospective at The Gospel Coalition blog. You can see Lewis’s capacious mind on full display in this sermon, which ranged from the Stoics and Augustine and Thomas Aquinas clear through to Milton and Kant, never bogging down »

Ex-Secret Service Officer: White House staff lived in fear of Hillary

Featured image Emily Smith of the New York Post reports on some of the revelations in Crisis of Character, the soon-to-be-released book by former Secret Service agent Gary Byrne about life at the White House with Hillary Clinton. I discussed the book briefly here. According to Byrne, Hillary Clinton would be friendly one moment and then go into a rage. She repeatedly screamed obscenities at her husband, Secret Service personnel and White »

Ex-Secret Service agent blows whistle on Hillary

Featured image Donald Trump is a nasty piece of work, but is he nastier than Hillary Clinton? I expressed doubt that he is at the end of this post. In a few weeks, Crisis of Character by former Secret Service agent Gary Byrne, a “tell-all” book about Hillary’s time at the White House, will be released. “What I saw [at the White House] in the 1990s sickened me,” says Byrne. “I want »

CRB: Song of Troy

Featured image The origins of the Iliad and the Odyssey are shrouded in mystery, or just shrouded, but this much we know. They are two of the greatest poems ever composed. New translations by Robert Fagles with introductions by Bernard Knox were something of an event in the publishing world when they appeared in 1990 and 1996. I saw Fagles chant a portion of his translation of the Iliad before a packed »

CRB: Killers, saviors, heroes

Featured image Aristotle wrote a great book — the greatest? — on human greatness, The Nichomachean Ethics. Following in Aristotle’s footsteps, Professor Robert Faulkner wrote The Case for Greatness: Honorable Ambition and Its Critics. Now Tod Lindberg has returned our attention to the subject in The Heroic Heart: Greatness Ancient and Modern. Who better to review Lindberg’s book than Professor Faulkner? He does so in “Killers, saviors, heroes.” Professor Faulkner finds Lindberg’s »

CRB: Respecting the respectable

Featured image We continue our preview of the new issue of the Claremont Review of Books courtesy of our friends at the Claremont Institute. I have chosen one essay and three reviews for your consideration, but I had a hard time choosing among the riches on offer in the new issue. You can do your own choosing at the heavily subsidized price of $19.95 a year. Subscribe by clicking on Subscription Services »