Books

The Power Line Show, Ep 189: Ross Douthat on “The Decadent Society”

Featured image “Decadence” is one of those familiar terms that is trivialized or rendered comic by overuse—perhaps you’d say from decadence itself. And while most people think decadent is mostly a synonym for “sumptuous,” it has a wider and deeper meaning, which is the subject of Ross Douthat’s new book, The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success. Douthat, a columnist for the New York Times and author »

America’s honor

Featured image In observance of Memorial Day 2007 the Wall Street Journal published a brilliant column by the late Peter Collier to mark the occasion. The column remains timely and is accessible online here. I don’t think we’ll read or hear anything more thoughtful or appropriate to the occasion today. With the kind permission of Peter himself, here it is: Once we knew who and what to honor on Memorial Day: those »

Gimme CRB shelter

Featured image Our friends at the Claremont Review of Books have an important announcement: “With so many here and around the world still confined to quarters, the CRB editors have decided to brighten your detention by making our new Spring issue available free to readers everywhere. No masks required.” No longer the middleman selecting highlights from the issue, I urge Power Line readers to check it out on their own here. As »

Isaac Babel revisited

Featured image Northwestern University Professor Gary Saul Morson packs a lot of learning into his 2018 New York Review of Books essay/review on Isaac Babel, “The horror, the horror.” The editors of the NYRB kindly took the essay out from behind its paywall and made it accessible for Power Line readers this week in response to my request yesterday. The essay will soon recede behind the paywall once again. I want to »

The Mirror & The Light

Featured image One thing about self-isolating, you have plenty of time to read. Yesterday I finished The Mirror & The Light, the concluding volume of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy starring Thomas Cromwell. The first book, Wolf Hall, covered Cromwell’s rise to power, first as an aide to Cardinal Wolsey, then, surviving Wolsey’s fall, as a key adviser to Henry VIII. Wolf Hall concludes with Cromwell’s victory over Thomas More. Cromwell was a protestant »

Napoleon: Not So Bad After All

Featured image Let’s take a break from COVID-19 and talk books. Last year I read Andrew Roberts’ biography of Winston Churchill, and enjoyed it. I didn’t realize that he also wrote a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte in 2014 until one of my daughters gave it to me for Christmas. It is a terrific book–long, at 800 pages, but so absorbing that it could easily have been longer. I actually enjoyed Napoleon more »

In Hoffa’s Shadow

Featured image If you are looking for a new book with which you can hunker down while you isolate yourself at home, I recommend Jack Goldsmith’s In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, A Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth. Goldsmith is the Henry L. Shattuck Professor at Harvard Law School, co-founder of Lawfare, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Before coming to Harvard, Professor Goldsmith served as Assistant »

Obama’s airbrushed dreams

Featured image I placed David Garrow’s biography of the young Barack Obama (now available in paperback) in my top 10 books of 2017. Forgive me for quoting myself. This is what I wrote: Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, by David J. Garrow. This staggeringly researched book covers 1078 pages of text supported by 300 pages of footnotes — even though Garrow relegates his comments on Obama’s presidency to a 50-page »

Notice this

Featured image Bill Browder is the founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, through which he became the largest foreign investor in Russia until 2005. Sergei Magnitsky was his lawyer. Through sharp practices with a new twist, Russian authorities misappropriated three of Browder’s companies and used them in a scheme to take $230 million from the Russian government in the form of a tax refund. When Magnitsky figured out what had happened »

American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar

Featured image I met up with the Federalist’s Ben Weingarten in Minneapolis this past fall when he was in the process of finishing American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party. With a foreword by Andrew McCarthy, the book is published in paperback today by Bombardier Books; it is available on Amazon at the link. Ben sent me and a few other students of Omar a copy »

CRB: Natural justice

Featured image The Claremont Review of Books has just published its new (Winter) issue. This week we spend four days featuring book reviews to preview the issue this week. Today is day three: we feature two book reviews discussing current Supreme Court justices and related controversies. Conrad Black takes up two books on Brett Kavanaugh in “Confirmation Bias.” The two books offer sharply different perspectives on Kavanaugh’s nomination and confirmation to the »

CRB: Who’s your daddy?

Featured image The identity politics that permeates our public life will destroy the United States if it has not already remade it into something that is destined to fall of its own weight. In the just published Winter issue of the Claremont Review of Books, Hillsdale’s David Azzerad reviews Mary Eberstadt’s new book on identity politics. The book comprises a short monograph by Eberstadt along with responses by Rod Dreher of the »

CRB: Going off the rails

Featured image The Claremont Review of Books has just published its new (Winter) issue. Thanks to the editors, I reviewed the issue in galley to pick out four pieces to roll out this for Power Line readers. As always, I encourage readers to become subscribers (subscribe here) for the absurdly low price of $19.95 and get online access thrown in for free. This issue features essays by the likes of Amy Wax »

The Flashman papers revisited

Featured image In the February issue of the New Criterion John Steele Gordon revisits the Flashman novels of George MacDonald Fraser. Gordon’s essay is “No flash in the pan.” For reasons that are apparent from the outset of the essay, Gordon is a fan. The essay is an excellent weekend read. The premise of Fraser’s Flashman novels lies in the “discovery” of the papers of Harry Flashman; the novels purport to be »

The Power Line Show, Ep 168: Fight! Fight! In the White House No Less!

Featured image This week we violate the legendary first rule of Fight Club with Tevi Troy, author of the wonderfully gossipy new book Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump. Troy, a veteran of the George W. Bush White House and author of several previous books about overlooked aspects of the presidency, takes us on a tour of some of the legendary feuds and personality and power clashes »

Liberals Versus the Constitution

Featured image It was jarring to the ears to hear Democrats piously invoking the words and “original intent” of the Founders during the impeachment farce, because as everyone knows liberals would re-write the Constitution wholesale if they had the power to do so. The list of things they despise in our Constitution is quite long, i.e. get rid of the electoral college, abolish the Senate, etc. I’ve seen lists with as many »

Western Civilization, why it’s real and why it matters

Featured image Steve’s latest “Power Line Show” features my friend Stanley Kurtz discussing his new book, The Lost History of Western Civilization. Steve’s discussion with Stanley is well worth checking out. I also recommend this post by Stanley at NRO’s Corner. In addition to announcing the publication of The Lost History of Western Civilization, it provides an excellent analysis of what’s at stake in the academic dispute over Western Civilization. Stanley argues: »