Books

MS. found in a bottle

Featured image I take it there is no news advancing the Biden classified documents matter today. Assuming our readers were intimately familiar with the works of Edgar Allan Poe, I may have mystified some by adapting the title of Edgar Allan Poe’s fantastic story “MS. Found In a Bottle” for several of my posts on the Biden matter. (“MS.” is an abbreviation of “manuscript.”) Published by Baltimore’s Saturday Visiter newspaper on October »

Books of 2022

Featured image A year ago I remembered the books I read in 2021, as I had done in some past years. Then in April, while I was laid up following surgery on an Achilles tendon, I wrote about the books I had read to that point in 2022. These included The Last King of America, Andrew Roberts’ biography of George III, which I was in the midst of at that time, Ulysses, »

The extinction next time

Featured image Paul Ehrlich is alive — I thought that was news — and he is still predicting doom. He was among the featured experts on last night’s 60 Minutes segment “Scientists say planet in midst of sixth mass extinction, Earth’s wildlife running out of places to live” (video below). CBS’s Scott Pelley tracked him down: At the age of 90, biologist Paul Ehrlich may have lived long enough to see some »

Nazi Germany and the Jews

Featured image Whoopi Goldberg is in the news again — here and here, for example. Ignorance and malice can be mitigated, but stupidity is something with which you are stuck. Ms. Goldberg is the bearer of a toxic combination. Her thoughts on the Jewish people are a case in point. Something does not compute. When I was a teenager I read every paperback book I came across on the Holocaust. Among the »

Uncancelled History: Winston Churchill

Featured image The producers of Uncancelled History with Douglas Murray have just posted episode 5 on Winston Churchill. Whose brain would you want Murray to pick on Churchill? Luckily for us they thought to call on Andrew Roberts and luckily for us Roberts answered the call. Roberts is of course the prominent historian and prolific author of the one-volume bio Churchill: Walking With Destiny and related books. Murray and Roberts discuss the »

Mao’s party never ends

Featured image Frank Dikötter is the author of The People’s Trilogy (“a series of books that document the impact of communism on the lives of ordinary people in China on the basis of new archival material”) and, most recently, China After Mao. He has served as Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong since 2006 — “one wonders for how much longer,” Tunku Varadarajan added in his Wall Street »

Uncancelled History: Abraham Lincoln

Featured image I have a happy memory of taking my two youngest daughters to hear Andrew Ferguson read from his then new book Land of Lincoln at Magers & Quinn Booksellers in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis back in June 2007. Andy greeted us warmly and we all greatly enjoyed the reading. (To that happy memory I can join the current observation that Magers & Quinn is with us yet. It is »

The Peacemaker

Featured image Steve Hayward is the author of the two-volume history The Age of Reagan. Matt Continetti is the author of The Right: The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism. They agree — Steve here (Washington Free Beacon) and Matt here (Wall Street Journal) — that William Inboden’s The Peacemaker: Ronald Reagan, the Cold War, and the World on the Brink is must reading. Inboden is the executive director of the Clements Center »

Uncancelled history: Robert E. Lee

Featured image Douglas Murray has kicked off a podcast series entitled Uncancelled History with author Jonathan Horn. (I prefer to spell uncanceled with one “l,” American style.) Horn is a former White House speechwriter whose first book — The Man Who Would Not Be Washington (2015) — was a biography of Robert E. Lee. He is also the author, most recently, of Washington’s End (2020), about the man who was Washington. Murray’s »

A Joycean interlude

Featured image I just finished a five-week Zoom class with retired Dartmouth English Professor James Heffernan. Professor Heffernan is the author, most recently, of the forthcoming Politics and Literature at the Dawn of World War II. Under Professor Heffernan’s guidance, we read the last five chapters of James Joyce’s Ulysses. It was the third installment of the three courses in which Professor Heffernan has taken students through the novel under the auspices »

Netanyahu speaks

Featured image Dan Senor has just posted a one-hour podcast with once and future Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (below). The interview is occasioned by the publication of Netanyahu’s memoir Bibi: My Story. They also take up Netanyahu’s prescient A Durable Peace: Israel and Its Place Among the Nations (2000). Senor is the knowledgeable co-author of Start-Up Nation and the interview takes up the subject of Senor’s book while ranging beyond the »

Wall of Death

Featured image Richard and Linda Thompson came out of the English folk movement. Richard made his name in Fairport Convention and then moved on to record a series of six classic albums with his wife, Linda Thompson. Richard’s Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice, 1967-1975, was published last year and is now out in paperback. He continues as a solo artist — he has a United States tour starting next »

Dink’s Song

Featured image Before founding the Byrds with Gene Clark and David Crosby, Roger McGuinn was a folk nut. He returned to his first love in music with Roger McGuinn’s Folk Den, where he posts new recordings of old songs monthly. McGuinn celebrated the 27th anniversary of his Folk Den here this month. He did the honors with “Shady Grove.” No one told me arithmetic would be required, but I believe that means »

Who is Rahul Ligma?

Featured image It turns out that the purportedly fired Twitter employees featured in the news yesterday were hoaxers with a good sense of humor. CNBC’s story on them now comes with an editor’s note: “After CNBC published details of an interview with people who claimed to be fired employees of Twitter, several reports emerged suggesting it was a hoax. CNBC could not confirm the identities of the individuals.” The New York Post »

Preface to thought of the day

Featured image Steve Hayward’s official thought of the day is lined up to go this afternoon. Until that time, I offer this preface to the thought of the day from the last chapter of Christopher Caldwell’s Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties (2020) (reviewed here by Helen Andrews in the Claremont Review of Books). Referring to the phenomenon of gangsta rap and its liberal use of the n-word, Caldwell notes the »

Friends in viral places

Featured image Nicholas Wade is the excellent former New York Times science reporter. I want to recommend his City Journal essay/review “Friends in viral places.” Wade takes up a new book on the origin of Covid-19 whose author he describes as “a well-regarded and widely published writer about viruses and natural history[.]” The review is educational and entertaining. Among other things, Wade indicts the author for shortchanging the lab-leak theory of the »

How to lose friends and influence over people

Featured image I write to commend Mohammed Khalid Alyahya’s Tablet column “How to lose friends and influence over people.” The headline works a twist on Dale Carnegie’s best-selling How To Win Friends and Influence People. It’s the granddaddy of self-help books and the advice remains worthy. Alyahya writes: “As a Saudi who loves the United States, and believes deeply that our two countries need each other, the only word that comes to »