History

Abate Abbas, please

Featured image Mahmoud Abbas is one of the many people to whom President Trump is getting. It is entirely to Trump’s credit that Abbas’s usual shtick has failed so miserably with Trump, as is the contrast with President Obama in this respect. Abbas is a deeply unsavory figure in a world of unsavory figures. Entering the fourteenth year of his four-year term as president of the Palestinian Authority, he lacks legitimacy of »

Deep thoughts by James Comey

Featured image Former FBI Director James Comey has been a public figure for a long time, but we are only now really getting to know him. It is difficult to fathom the depth of his self-regard. He is deeply imbued with the sense of his own righteousness. He therefore played the part of a straight-talking G-Man with undiluted conviction. No one would ever mistake him for a man with a sense of »

The two Martin Luther King Jrs

Featured image Today being Martin Luther King’s birthday, I took time off from thinking about the dossier/s***thole and read an essay written for the Heritage Foundation by Peter C. Myers: “The Limits and Dangers of Civil Disobedience: The Case of Martin Luther King, Jr.” I recommend it. Myers argues: (1) America’s founding principles of natural rights and the rule of law permit the practice of civil disobedience narrowly conceived. (2) American civil »

The prophetic voice

Featured image When Martin Luther King, Jr., brought his nonviolent campaign against segregation to Bull Connor’s Birmingham, he laid siege to the bastion of Jim Crow. In Birmingham between 1957 and 1962, black homes and churches had been subjected to a series of horrific bombings intended to terrorize the community. In April 1963 King answered the call to bring his campaign to Birmingham. When King landed in jail on Good Friday for »

Steve Bannon, David Stockman, and the need to spill one’s guts to liberals [UPDATED]

Featured image Jonah Goldberg says he’s “struggling to think of a comparable figure in American political history who squandered real power and influence as completely and quickly as [Steve] Bannon has.” The closest he comes is Father Coughlin from the 1930s. I can come no closer. However, Bannon’s fall reminds me of what happened to David Stockman in the 1980s. In some ways the comparison seems inapt. Stockman, who served as President »

The Indispensable Churchill Bibliography

Featured image Pursuant to the discussion here and the podcast Scott and I produced about Darkest Hour, a number of readers have asked for recommendations for good biographies and books about Churchill. Here are ten recommended authors and titles. Right off the top, it should be acknowledged that even the most ambitious reader might not be up to getting through all eight volumes of Martin Gilbert’s official biography (the longest biography ever »

Next Biopic on Deck: Chappaquiddick

Featured image Coming on the heels of Darkest Hour is another biopic of note. Both Paul and I reported a while ago that there was a movie in the works on Ted Kennedy’s infamous incident at Chappaquiddick in 1969. In September I had an item here about how an early review suggested the film would be very harsh on Kennedy, and the trailer just out makes it appear there may be some »

Judicial confirmation hearings, then and now

Featured image John wrote today about Matthew Petersen, President Trump’s nominee for a federal district judgeship. Petersen is a substantial guy, as John shows, and he was rated “qualified” to serve as district court judge by the American Bar Association. My strong preference, though, is for district court judges with a fair amount of experience litigating. I would not have wanted to have try a case before a judge who had little »

Ken Starr’s investigation and Robert Mueller’s — compare and contrast

Featured image E.J. Dionne claims that “the attacks on [Robert] Mueller push us closer to the precipice.” But if we’re close to the precipice now, where were we 20 years ago when Ken Starr was relentlessly attacked by Democrats and their media pals while he investigated Bill Clinton?* Don’t expect an answer from Dionne. He’s not intellectually honest enough even to mention Starr in his rant. But charges of hypocrisy against one »

Worst column of the year?

Featured image Over the years, I’ve probably learned as much, if not more, from George Will as from any columnist or political commentator. These days, his antipathy towards the U.S. president far exceeds mine, but I continue to learn from Will. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to learn from Will’s latest contribution, in which he proclaims Trump the worst president in American history. The column is an embarrassment. I can’t say it’s the worst »

A Whittaker Chambers Xmas

Featured image I was reminded that a friend asked me to recommend a book about Whittaker Chambers as a Christmas gift for her smartly conservative daughter a few years ago. Chambers stands at the center of an incredible drama and four fantastic books about it. There is still much to be learned from Chambers and his case. It occurred to me that some readers might appreciate another look at these recommendations including »

Darkest two hours

Featured image We went to see Darkest Hour last night. The film portrays Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) in May 1940. When Neville Chamberlain stepped down, Churchill became Prime Minister on May 10 and became Great Britain’s war leader. In Five Days in London: May 1940 (1999), John Lukacs focused on these events and took us into the cabinet meetings portrayed in the film. Stick with Lukacs. The film reduces Churchill to a »

AP History repeats itself

Featured image Last year, I wrote about the College Board’s plan to mandate a left-wing framework for the teaching of AP European History, a college-level course for American high school students and the last course in European history that many of them take. I relied on a devastating critique of the AP European History exam (APEH) issued by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) and written by David Randall. Dr. Randall’s key »

The Second World Wars

Featured image Last week I noted that Time has compiled a list of the top 10 non-fiction books of 2017. While conceding I haven’t read any of them, I noted that any such list in which Hillary Clinton and Ta-Nehisi Coates place in numbers 1 and 2 is some kind of a joke. That’s what Time’s list is. I’m thinking about my own top 10 list. It certainly includes Scalia Speaks: Reflections »

Weekend reading

Featured image I want to take the liberty of drawing attention to weekend reading of special interest without commentary from me. I recommend: • Douglas Murray, “The Russian Revolution, 100 years on.” Murray looks back at what Communism wrought and decries its continuing appeal. NRO has posted Murray’s recent cover story along with sidebars by Anne Applebaum, David Pryce-Jones, Noah Rothman, Roger Scruton, and Radoslaw Sikorski assigning notable books for extra credit »

America’s first socialist republic

Featured image Paul A. Rahe holds the Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in the Western Heritage at Hillsdale College and has established himself as one of the country’s most distinguished scholars of history and politics. In view of his study of Republics Ancient and Modern, Professor Rahe is the academy’s foremost authority on the history of republics. Although his more recent work on Soft Despotism was not far from »

Happy Thanksgiving

Featured image We pause to give thanks for Sarah Josepha Hale, the 74-year-old magazine editor who wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” She explained, “You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same »