CRB: With the Old Breed

The Claremont Review of Books is of course the flagship publication of the Claremont Institute. I find in every issue an education in the true understanding of politics, public policy, and statesmanship. It is my favorite magazine. Purchase an annual subscription here for $19.95 and get immediate online access to the whole thing.

The Summer 2019 issue of the CRB has just been placed in the mail. The editors have given me a free run through the galley proof to let me select essays and reviews with which to preview the issue for Power Line readers. I have selected three of the issue’s essays and reviews to bring to your attention this week.

Both Paul Mirengoff (here) and I (here) have commented on Tom Cotton’s Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington, published this past May. The Wall Street Journal called on Allen Guelzo for his assessment of the book. Combining history and memoir, it is an incredibly rich and rewarding book.

The CRB has turned to Victor Davis Hanson to review the book. Harking back to E.B. Sledge’s classic memoir, the review appears under the headline “With the Old Breed.” I will only say that it represents a perfect match of book with reviewer.

On a personal note, I want to add that VDH alludes to then Lieutenant Cotton’s 2006 open letter the New York Times that first saw the light of day on Power Line (Cotton had emailed us a copy of the letter):

Representative and now Senator Cotton experienced the loss of fellow soldiers firsthand, in combat and then as an Old Guard captain overseeing military funerals at Arlington. These experiences explain the book’s third and subtlest theme. Cotton has been a life-long (he is 42 years old) conservative critic of American progressivism and the current postmodern trajectory of American popular culture. As an undergraduate he once worried about the cultural influence of the early internet. Later, as a soldier in 2006 Iraq, he wrote a widely circulated but unpublished letter to the New York Times, advocating the jailing of journalists who had leaked critical classified information on anti-terrorist efforts—information that he felt endangered troops in the field. After military service, he returned to farming his family’s ranch until at 35 he won a seat in his conservative Arkansas congressional district.

Cotton, then, naturally worries if these ancient rituals can survive in a politically correct, globalized America. Will The Old Guard be reduced to an esoteric ancient cult, largely unknown to the vast nation it serves and, when known, treated as a museum exhibit?

The letter still makes for good reading. I quoted it in its entirety and told the rest of the story in “Nine years later, Tom Cotton’s letter to the Times.”

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