Ben Macintyre’s Rogue Heroes

In late April of 1980, six armed men, members of an Arab nationalist group, stormed the Iranian embassy in London and barricaded themselves inside, taking 26 hostages as leverage for their demands: the release of Arab prisoners held in Iran, […]

Gertrude Himmelfarb’s On Looking Into The Abyss

Gertrude Himmerlfarb passed away last December, at the age of 97. She was one of America’s most decorated historians, with a publishing career spanning more than half a century. Even her family merits mentioning: her late husband was the influential […]

Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human

In film, extreme close-up shots are used to discomfit viewers and convey to them, in often painstaking detail, the psychology of the character in focus. Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human is a kind of literary extreme close-up of the life […]

Patrick White’s Flaws In The Glass

Patrick White was the 1973 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first – and of this writing, the only – Australian to win the award, and it was this fame that motivated me to snatch his memoir from […]

Christopher Dawson’s Religion And Culture

Ten years ago, it would have been unimaginable to me that I would read a Catholic historian with great pleasure, or take seriously his thesis that religions were inseparable, indispensable elements of culture. I began this blog describing myself as […]

Roger Scruton’s Modern Culture

Roger Scruton died earlier this year. There are very few people who can fairly be described as irreplaceable, but he was certainly one. Who among us now can claim his vast array of talents or rival his broad base of […]

Charles Murray’s Human Diversity

I pre-ordered Charles Murray’s latest book, Human Diversity, in the naive hope that I might finish it before the outrage machine masquerading as our modern press could calumniate it. It arrived on my doorstep the very day it was available […]

Kōbō Abe’s The Ruined Map

Japan today is a dying country. One in five of its citizens is over the age of 65, and with a birth rate of 1.42 children per woman, its citizens have seen more funerals than births in recent years. And […]

William H. Gass’ The World Within The Word

The foremost distinguishing characteristic of any good writer is a fascination with words. This never struck me as a very high bar, for words are inherently interesting: try thinking or communicating without them. We use words not only to describe […]

Wesley Yang’s The Souls Of Yellow Folk

I have been an avid reader of Wesley Yang’s for some time now. I can’t recall which of his many essays first caught my attention, but the rare combination of original insight and lyrical flair that characterizes his writing was […]