Books

A Chaucerian interlude

Featured image As an undergraduate I took two English courses on the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer, the first on The Canterbury Tales and the second on Troilus and Criseyde. Both courses were taught by Peter Travis (the first with the late, great Alan T. Gaylord), then in the early years of his distinguished career as a teacher, medievalist, and Chaucerian. Both courses were among the highlights of my education. Although he retired »

The dying citizen

Featured image Victor Davis Hanson’s new book — The Dying Citizen, published earlier this month by Basic Books — could not be more timely. American Greatness published VDH’s précis of the book’s argument here. City Journal editor Brian Anderson has now recorded a podcast with him on the themes of the book that I have embedded below. The transcript is posted here along with the podcast itself. As City Journal puts it, »

The Bidens: Corrupt or crazy?

Featured image Yesterday Matt Taibbi published the column “‘The Bidens’: Is the First Family Corrupt, or Merely Crazy?” Subhead: “Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger’s new book is an equal opportunity offender that may push a reluctant national media to re-examine ugly questions about President Joe Biden.” Taibbi posted the column to his TK News Substack site. Taibbi is probably overoptimistic about the effect of Schreckinger’s book on the national media. His column nevertheless »

Sandel’s just deserts

Featured image Provoked by Charles Murray’s laid-back admiration of Harvard Professor Michael Sandel’s The Tyranny of Merit, I touched on the issues that seem to be raised by Sandel’s book in “The merit of meritocracy.” Sandel’s book is now out in paperback and the Washington Free Beacon has just published Peter Berkowitz’s review of Sandel’s book. Placing the book in the context of Sandel’s career and the tradition of political philosophy, Berkowitz’s »

A great teacher remembered

Featured image Yale classicist and historian Donald Kagan died this past August. In the current (October) issue of the New Criterion his former student Paul Rahe draws on his long relationship with Professor Kagan for the tribute “Donald Kagan, 1932–2021.” It is a moving portrait of a great teacher. Indeed, one can infer the qualities of a great teacher from Rahe’s portrait. It is worth reading and thinking through on that ground »

Derek Chauvin needs a lawyer

Featured image Joe Tamburino is a Minneapolis lawyer who specializes in criminal defense. He observed the trial of Derek Chauvin from beginning to end in order to provide the commentary that accompanied Jason DeRusha’s coverage of WCCO TV’s online streaming of the trial. Last month Chauvin filed an appeal of his conviction and sentence. In the Star Tribune this morning Tamburino has a column pointing out that Chauvin has some strong legal »

Milley promotes himself

Featured image Senator Marsha Blackburn asked Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley about the books in which he is quoted to inflammatory effect. He acknowledged that he had sat for interviews with the authors of each of the books she specified. In his Washington Examiner Daily Memo yesterday, Byron York cited them and extracted a few of the quotes: Three of the biggest such books, all bestsellers, were Peril, by Bob Woodward and Robert »

The merit of meritocracy

Featured image Harvard’s Professor Michael Sandel is a popular teacher of philosophy. His course on Justice is renowned, as is his related book of that title. His Justice course lectures are available on YouTube. As Deirdre McCloskey concisely put it: “In contemporary terms he is a liberal, though of a decidedly ‘communitarian’ bent.” He’s the kind of academic philosopher who is tailor-made for the New York Times. Sandel’s new book is an »

Angelo Codevilla, RIP

Featured image Terrible news out this morning of the death of Angelo Codevilla, at age 78, reportedly in a car accident. It is hard to overstate the importance and brilliance of Angelo. If you only knew him by his many books and columns (including this 2015 piece he wrote for Power Line on Trump’s significance and prospects), it would be sufficient to establish his greatness. But he was also at the storm »

Thoughts from the ammo line

Featured image Ammo Grrrll counsels WHEN ANIMALS ATTACK! (With a Groovy Surprise Announcement!). She writes: So I was surfing the Net, trying to avoid actual news of the world, clicking on things like “Try not to gasp when you see Raquel Welch now…”-type stories, which always disappoint and never deliver the bombshells they promise, like a hooker who only wants to cuddle*. And I came across a story about angry cows attacking »

Podcast: The 3WHH on ‘The Soul of Politics,’ with Glenn Ellmers

Featured image Next Tuesday, Encounter Books will publish Glenn Ellmers’ magisterial intellectual biography The Soul of Politics: Harry Jaffa and the Fight for America, and Glenn joins us this week to walk through some of the highlights in the book in what is turning out to be a month-long “Jaffapalooza.” Naturally, we draw Glenn into our running argument about the problems of communicating the proper understanding of the principle of equality in an »

Getting Churchill wrong

Featured image I am familiar with Geoffrey Wheatcroft as a respected British journalist and author with a stint in editorial positions on Britain’s Spectator included on his résumé. I am therefore grateful to have Andrew Roberts send up a warning flare on Wheatcroft’s new book, Churchill’s Shadow: The Life and Afterlife of Winston Churchill. The headline of Roberts’s Spectator review poses the question “A Churchill character assassination too far?” Let us remove »

CRB: Yesterday once more

Featured image Today we wind up our preview of the new (Summer) issue of the Claremont Review of Books. with Bradley Watson’s “Yesterday Once More.” Professor Watson reviews Robert D. Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett’s The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again. Professor Putman is the prominent Harvard professor and author of Bowling Alone. Garrett describes herself as “a writer, speaker, and changemaker »

CRB: Criminal negligence

Featured image Merrily we roll along into our fourth preview of the new (Summer) issue of the Claremont Review of Books. It is CRB senior editor Bill Voegeli’s long essay/review “Criminal Negligence.” Reviewing the galley of the new issue to select pieces for Power Line readers last week, I thought the essay might be too long for convenient reading online. On second thought, however, I concluded it makes for perfect weekend reading »

CRB: Racism all the way down

Featured image We continue our preview of the new (Summer) issue of the Claremont Review of Books with Eric Kaufmann’s timely review of Isabel Wilkerson’s celebrated Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Wilkerson is the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter and, unfortunately, her book meets the moment. This is the book: Wilkerson aims to awaken American blacks to the arbitrary caste hierarchy pressing upon them and to open the eyes of »

CRB: Right flight

Featured image The Claremont Review of Books has just sent its new (Summer) issue to the printer. I reviewed the issue in galley last week to pick out pieces to roll out for Power Line readers (subscribe here for $19.95 and get online access thrown in for free). This time around I plan to keep the festivities going through Monday with a Sunday edition featuring Bill Voegeli’s long essay/review on crime, and »

CRB: There goes Robert E. Lee

Featured image This weekend comes news that the city of Charlottesville has officially removed the statue of Robert E. Lee from Emancipation Park. Fox News story on the removal of the statue is posted reports: “Viewing areas for the removal of the statues were erected so that bystanders could watch cranes lift the statues from their plinth blocks; the process was nearly complete just before 9 a.m.” Politico reports: “Spectators by the »