Books

The Power Line Show, Ep. 36: “Frankfurters All the Way Down”

Featured image This episode of the Power Line Show features an interview with Michael Walsh about his fascinating recent book The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the West. Walsh explains how most of the nihilistic radicalism of our time derives from the “Frankfurt School,” the group of mid-20th century emigre philosophers whose eclectic post-Marxist thought can be found at the root of nearly everything wrong »

Power Line Show, Episode 35: “Dangerous Doctrine”

Featured image One of the things the Power Line Editorial Board did in our rare in-person gathering on Wednesday in John’s kitchen/newsroom was tape a new episode of the Power Line Show, where we kick around with Scott his daily beat reporting of the trial of the “Minnesota Men.”  You can access the episode through our custom window to the right, or listen down below. The heart of this show, however, is »

When Elvis met Nixon

Featured image With his superb two-volume biography of Elvis — Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love — Peter Guralnick has made himself the essential chronicler of Elvis’s story. Guralnick of course tells the true story of the day in December 1970 when Elvis met Nixon in the White House. The story of the visit provides insight into Elvis’s patriotism as well as comic relief in the denouement of Elvis’s life. The »

That Hamilton man

Featured image Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton is a phenomenon. Twelve years after its publication in hardcover, it’s number 2 on this week’s New York Times nonfiction paperback bestseller list. Yet there is nothing dumbed down about it. It is a work of popular history, to be sure, but it is a lengthy tome for serious readers on one of our most challenging founders. Lin-Manuel Miranda was one such serious reader. »

The Trial as how-to manual

Featured image Does anyone read Kafka anymore? I doubt that high school and college students take him up as faithfully as we once did, but the bureaucratic tyrants running the Department of Education in the Obama administration appear to have drawn on Kafka’s Trial as a how-to manual rather than a modernist warning of a nightmarish future. The book opens: “Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., he knew he »

Donald Trump reviews

Featured image Borrowing from Josh Marshall, Jack Shepherd summarizes the Trump formula on Twitter: “Each tweet is made up of two short declarative sentences, followed by a short, derisive blast at the end. Once you start to notice it, you can’t get it out of your head. This is how it works. It’s very effective! And when you know the formula, it’s easy to accurately predict how Trump might, for instance, review »

At Emory, Orwell 1984!

Featured image The sight of chalked messages proclaiming Trump 2016 around the Emory University campus has allegedly induced unbearable suffering among some 40 to 50 of the students. These students have brought their suffering to the attention of Emory President Wagner with the demand that he do something about it. I took a quick look at the doings on campus in “At Emory, a trail of Trump tears.” Emory University Professor Harvey »

A Few Words from Walter Berns

Featured image I’ve spent most of this week immersed in the great works of Walter Berns, especially his very first book from 1957, Freedom, Virtue and the First Amendment. What a splendid and wonderful book! And although much of the proximate subject matter (the Supreme Court’s free speech jurisprudence up to the mid-1950s) is dated, the central arguments of the book are not, which is contained in the central term of the »

The Rush Endorsement

Featured image I was driving in my car down the California coast this morning doing what any sensible person would do—listening to Rush Limbaugh—when all of a sudden I heard my name! RUSH: I ran into something I found from 1978, Steven Hayward over at Power Line found it, reprinted it, and it’s some guy from 1978 named Harry Jaffa, “How to Think About the American Revolution.” But it’s not what you »

Art for politics’ sake at the Washington Post

Featured image If you think (as I do) that the Washington Post’s news section too often manifests liberal bias, you should probably steer clear of the arts, entertainment, and letters portions of the paper. The news section’s high profile produces limits as to how far reporters typically go to express such bias. Those who write in non-news sections are less constrained. That’s why I refer to these pages as the Washington Post’s »

William McKinley’s triumph in Karl Rove’s words

Featured image Yesterday, in recommending Karl Rove’s book The Triumph of William McKinley, Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters, I mentioned Rove’s discussion of the book at AEI. As a devotee of C-SPAN’s Booknotes, I’ve heard countless authors discuss their babies (I mean books). I can’t recall a better such presentation than Rove’s. Scott found the event on YouTube and you can watch it below. The question about the role of »

Karl Rove: the master strategist as master story teller

Featured image I normally don’t recommend books on Power Line unless I’ve read them from beginning to end. However, I’m making an exception for Karl Rove’s The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters. Why? First, because I’m in the early-middle of a long history of Austria and probably won’t make any headway on Rove’s book (beyond the first chapter, which I have read) for some time. Second, »

Forrest McDonald, RIP [with comment by Paul]

Featured image Sad news yesterday of the passing of one of the great conservative historians of our time, Forrest McDonald, at the age of 89. He taught for many years at the University of Alabama, and was the author of several important revisionist works on American history, including a favorable biography of the great electric utility executive Sam Insull (one of the “economic royalists” that FDR hunted down with mixed success during »

The Perils of Leuchtenburg

Featured image When I heard a few weeks ago that there was a new history of the presidency, The American President, by William Leuchtenburg, my first thought was—Leuchtenburg is still alive?? Indeed he is, 92 years old now. It was over 30 years ago that I read one of his best-known books, The Perils of Prosperity: 1914-1932, published in 1958! It was a smug and lazy liberal narrative of entirely typical of »

This year in reading

Featured image Tevi Troy discusses his favorite reads of 2015. It’s an impressive list, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read any of the selections. I expect partially to remedy this in 2016. I’m also embarrassed to admit that William F. Buckley’s admonition, with which Tevi concludes his column, hit home (though I prefer tea to coffee): “You don’t write 40 odd books, thousands of newspaper columns, and boxes and »

Power Line’s Chart of the Week: The Achievement of Capitalism

Featured image Herewith a new Power Line feature: Chart of the Week. Because data. Also innovation. Scheduled to appear on Monday or Tuesday each week. I have been looking forward for a long time to the last in Deirdre McCloskey’s trilogy about capitalism (a term she dislikes) that began with Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce, and Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World. The third volume, coming »

What Happened to the Conservative Book Club?

Featured image Over the years the Conservative Book Club, now over 50 years old, has picked up several of my books as a main selection of the month, so I’m inclined to be well disposed to the CBC. But it is more than a little dismaying to see the CBC’s recent list of the “Top Ten Conservative Books of 2015” include this: I know the CBC, now a unit of Salem Communications, »