CRB: A new classic

Featured image To borrow a resonant Shakespearean word, the new (Winter) issue of the Claremont Review of Books carries one review that represents the perfectest pairing of book with reviewer. It is Andrew Roberts’s review of Victor Davis Hanson’s new book, The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won. Roberts is of course the prominent historian and author of his own one-volume history of World War II, »

Something Completely Different: The Hittites

Featured image Like most people, I suppose, I am aware of the Hittites only as bit players in the Old Testament. In my imagining, they have always been primitive at best. So I was surprised to come across this silver drinking cup in the shape of a fist, which is in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts: The museum’s site places the vessel in the Hittite New Kingdom during »

Churchill in five minutes

Featured image PragerU enlisted the services of the prominent historian Andrew Roberts to give its short course on “Winston Churchill: The man who saved the free world” (video below). It’s a good title and Roberts knows what he is talking about. He is the author of The Storm of War: A New History of World War II and the forthcoming biography Churchill: Walking with Destiny (also a good title, drawn from the »

George Washington: Father of our country, symbol of its presidency

Featured image In the preface to his book The Presidency of George Washington, the late Forrest McDonald wrote: [M]y account of Washington’s presidency may leave the reader mystified by the man’s virtual deification in his own times. The solution to the mystery is here, however, if the reader will approach the story in the proper spirit. To be an American in the last decade of the eighteenth century was to be present »

Remembering the indispensable man

Featured image Today we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of George Washington. Of all the great men of the revolutionary era to whom we owe our freedom, Washington’s greatness was the rarest and the most needed. At this remove in time, it is also the hardest to comprehend. Take, for example, Washington’s contribution to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Washington’s mere presence lent the undertaking and its handiwork the legitimacy that »

The first gerrymander

Featured image The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, dominated by Democrats, has redrawn the map for congressional districts in that state. It was assisted by a liberal law professor from Stanford. According to Sean Trende, the new map follows reasonable principles — compactness, contiguity, and minimal jurisdictional splits — but within those confines repeatedly makes choices that increase the Democrats odds of winning districts. What a surprise! The bottom line is that instead »

This day in erasing history

Featured image I grew up in a time when Washington’s birthday was not only observed on February 22, but was celebrated with the Fannie Farmer chocolate hatchet honoring the mythical story told about Washington by Parson Weems. In 1968 Washington’s Birthday was moved to the third Monday in February by virtue of the Uniform Holidays Bill. It has subsequently become the nondescript Presidents’ Day by which we know it today. Millard Fillmore »

Liberals Double Down on Dumb

Featured image Paul and I have already commented on the invincible ignorance of Sen. Brian Schatz’s comment that invoking “Anglo-American heritage” is racist, and it really does seem as though Sen. Schatz was jumping to someone’s talking points memo about what right-thinking people on the coasts should say about Attorney General Sessions. Because Schatz has company, such as this from the likely next governor of California: Not to be left behind is »

Jeff Bell, RIP

Featured image Very sad news over the weekend of the passing of Jeff Bell, a truly original and important conservative thinker who first became well known in 1978 when he defeated the incumbent liberal Republican Senator Clifford Case in the primary election in New Jersey (going on to lose the general election that November to Bill Bradley). I didn’t know him especially well, but he was a big fan of my Reagan »

A genius for friendship

Featured image Abraham Lincoln stands not only as America’s greatest president but also as its greatest lawyer. At the time of his election to the presidency in 1860 he was the most prominent practicing lawyer in the state of Illinois. As a politician and as president, Lincoln was a profound student of the Constitution and constitutional history. Perhaps most important, Lincoln was America’s indispensable teacher of the moral ground of political freedom »

Remembering Mr. Lincoln

Featured image Today is of course the anniversary of the birth of America’s greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. As a politician and as president, Lincoln was a profound student of the Constitution and constitutional history. Perhaps most important, Lincoln was America’s indispensable teacher of the moral ground of political freedom at the exact moment when the country was on the threshold of abandoning what he called its “ancient faith” that all men are »

Introduction to the Federalist

Featured image Hillsdale College’s John Miller hosts a series of podcasts on the great books for National Review. NR compiles the podcasts on this page (including access and subscription to the podcasts in the various podcast forms). There is a wealth of riches here. You will want to scroll through the list to find those you want to take in, such as Assumption College’s Professor Dan Mahoney on The Gulag Archipelago. In »

Who You Callin’ Eccentric?

Featured image I really like Joseph Bottum (Jody to his friends), the literary editor of the Weekly Standard back at its launch, author of a terrific book (An Anxious Age) and nowadays head of the CLASSICS Institute at Dakota State University in his home state of South Dakota. (Which makes him some kind of 8th cousin of Hinderaker, doesn’t it?) He’s quite the polymath as well as an extraordinary dinner host, as »

Poland’s unwise ban on certain Holocaust speech

Featured image Poland has enacted a law that bans blaming Poland as a nation for Holocaust crimes committed by Nazi Germany. The law establishes prison sentences of up to three years for falsely attributing to Poland the crimes of Germany. The law will be submitted to Poland’s constitutional court for review, which I think leaves open the possibility that it will be amended. Amendment would be good. Striking down the law would »

The XYZ affair

Featured image The dust-up over releasing the Devin Nunes memo reminds me of the XYZ affair. Readers, at least those of a certain age, likely remember studying this affair in school, but some may not recall what it was about. X, Y, and Z were code names for three French agents who, in 1797, approached three emissaries of the U.S. government in Paris. The three emissaries were Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Elbridge Gerry, »

Tet (2)

Featured image Continuing with yesterday’s excerpt about the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, a little bit more from The Age of Reagan, vol. 1: On the morning of January 31, the first full day of the Tet attack, Associated Press photographer Eddie Adams and a Vietnamese TV cameraman employed by NBC were wandering around Saigon getting photos and footage of the battle damage when they noticed a small contingent »

Tet at 50

Featured image Today is the 50th anniversary of North Vietnam’s “Tet offensive” that is largely credited with finally breaking the back of American resolve to prevail in Vietnam. As Peter Braestrup demonstrated in copious detail in his terrific book Big Story: How the American Press and Television Reported and Interpreted the Crisis of Tet 1968 in Vietnam and Washington, the media and most historians got the story completely wrong—a story recounted well today »