Since the September 11, 2001 attacks by al-Qaeda terrorists on the United States, and the United States’ invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, vague invocations of “the Crusades” have gained a new relevance. Both sides of the conflict have sought to link the current series of wars to those of the Crusades — either by way of justifying or denouncing of their current course of action. History is one of the victims of the current conflict, as the much-maligned and ill-remembered Crusades have been recast time and again to serve various agendas.
The inherent political and economic instability of our present time has been the subject of many books, some of which are marketed as fiction, while others are presented as nonfiction. As is often the case in times of civilizational crisis, the authors of fiction may actually have a more realistic understanding of the actual "facts on the ground" — and the substantial causes of a civilization’s woes — than is presented by the self-described political elite in their purportedly factual writings. Thus, for example, historians may wear themselves out debating the historical accuracy of speeches recorded by Herodotus or Thucydides — what actually matters the most, to the modern reader, is that such speeches present him with an opportunity to reflect upon the Permanent Things.
Although better remembered today for his tales of the mythical land of Narnia, the so-called “Space Trilogy” of C. S. Lewis has remained of great interest to students of the thought of the Oxford don who moonlighted as a Christian apologist.
The developments that have taken place in the 17 years that have passed since the death of Dr. Russell Kirk (1918-1994) have demonstrated the enduring significance of the writings of one of the pivotal thinkers of 20th century American conservatism. The American body politic seems mortally ill, and many of the current crop of “conservative” writers are utterly incapable of addressing the actual needs of these United States with even a fraction of the wisdom that Kirk readily displayed throughout his long career. The Intercollegiate Institute’s 2006 collection of Kirk’s essays, The Essential Russell Kirk, offered a new generation of conservatives an opportunity to encounter a broad range of his scholarship. Now, a second edition of Charles C. Brown’s Russell Kirk — A Bibliography, will further aid in the study of the writes of the “Sage of Mecosta.”
The declining rate of literacy in this nation has hardly proven itself an impediment to the production of books by American Presidents past, present, and (according to authorial intention) future. To such volumes may be added the memoirs of first ladies, Vice Presidents, and appointees to various high offices — all of which are offered under the proposition that they offer some insight into the inner workings of policies foreign and domestic during the various administrations with which their authors were associated.
A plethora of books have appeared the past few years seeking to explain the economic crisis that shook the industrialized world in 2008, but few have dealt extensively with the impact of that crisis that emerged even earlier — in 2006 — in the tiny nation of Iceland. For those who have only a passing familiarity with the development of the 2008 collapse, this might not seem to be all that much of a shortcoming: To state the matter crassly, why worry about a nation with a population of a mere 300,000 citizens, when 300 million Americans were wrapped up in their own financial worries?
In an age that glorifies specialization, and often threatens to narrow the interests and achievements of individuals to subfields sterilely reduced to less than an intellectual handbreadth, a person who is truly multifaceted and who offers contributions to a broad array of fields is to be received as a treasure. The recent “manifesto” produced by Jaron Lanier — one of the giants of “virtual reality” research — continues to demonstrate that its author is one such individual.
Cathy Gere’s new book, Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism, is of profound significance because it offers the reader an opportunity to examine the manner in which modern and post-modern ideological constructions have hijacked the archaeological study of ancient Crete in the service of various agendas.
For those readers with an interest in the intellectual roots of modern conservative thought, one may well describe Thomas Chaimowicz’s Antiquity as the Source of Modernity as “long-anticipated.” In fact, it is the last work to be published in the Transaction Library of Conservative Thought commissioned by the late Russell Kirk. Dr. Kirk’s introduction was penned 20 years ago (the German edition was published in 1985), and it highlights the significance of Chaimowicz’s work for conservative political discourse: