“It will become a classic,” says Dominic Green in the current issue of Commentary, in a review of Fault Lines, a memoir by David Pryce-Jones.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Pryce-Jones describes his boyhood during the Second World War, when he thrilled to the sights and sounds of the Blitz, even as his parents’ home in London was destroyed. He also talks about how he became a writer, in a career that led him to become an insightful observer of Arab culture, both its glory during his early life and its decline ever since.

More

What Is Conservatism? It’s not a hard question — it’s a title that proves everything old is new again. ISI Books has reissued What Is Conservatism? It’s the 1964 classic edited by Frank S. Meyer and featuring contributions from the likes of William F. Buckley, Jr., Russell Kirk, and Friedrich Hayek, plus a new foreword by Jonah Goldberg.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Goldberg explains why he calls this volume, “The Federalist Papers of American conservatism,” which of its essays everyone should read right now, and what a book from half a century ago can teach conservatives in 2016.

More

Bourke on Burke — say that ten times fast. Or better yet, listen to the Bookmonger’s 10-minute conversation with Richard Bourke, author of Empire & Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke.

We discuss why American conservatives admire Burke so much, what Burke liked about the American Revolution but hated about the French Revolution, and how Burke’s life in the grubby world of politics shaped his ideas as a thinker whose work we still read today.

More

What’s it like to be the kid of a dictator? This is the subject of Jay Nordlinger’s new book, Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Nordlinger describes a rogue’s gallery of bad men — and how their kids turned out. He describes sons and daughters who became monsters themselves as well as sons and daughters who led admirable lives. There seems to be no rule of thumb. But there are stories, lots of them, and Jay shares a few good ones.

More

Thomas Mallon may be our generation’s Allen Drury — the top fictional chronicler of political life in Washington, D.C. His new book is Finale, a Novel of the Reagan Years.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Mallon describes what fiction can do that nonfiction can’t, how he handles the famous problem of Reagan’s personal unknowability, and what he thinks of Dutch, the controversial book by Edmund Morris that blends fiction and nonfiction in its coverage of Reagan.

More

We may be lurching toward a brave new world of utopian thinking known as transhumanism warns Charles T. Rubin in Eclipse of Man: Human Extinction and the Meaning of Progress.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Rubin explains how Ray Kurzweil and others have imagined a post-human future that would give Aldous Huxley the heebie-jeebies. He discusses how close their visions are to reality, what shape they might take, and how the rest of us are supposed to judge between prudent reform and progressive mania.

More

Why does murder fascinate us? That’s the question Michael Knox Beran tries to answer in his new book, Murder By Candlelight: The Gruesome Slayings Behind Our Romance with the Macabre. In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Beran describes how the 19th-century Romantics started to look at murder in a new way, what they made of the Jack the Ripper slayings, and what imprint they’ve made on our 21st-century culture.

And don’t forget: Subscribe to The Bookmonger on iTunes and never miss an episode.

More

From the trenches to the Shire, and from No Man’s Land to Narnia — the First World War led directly to some of the greatest fiction of the 20th century, says Joseph Loconte in his new book,Bookmonger Hobbit Wardrobe Great War A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R.Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Loconte describes how Tolkien and Lewis fought for their country, and then fought against the gloomy disillusionment of the modernists, creating worlds that continue to inspire readers. They also shared one of the most consequential friendships of their time, says Loconte, and they may have needed each other to achieve their separate successes.

More

What’s wrong with America? German philosophers! That’s what Michael Walsh says in his new book, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace: The Cult of Critical Theory and the Subversion of the WestBookmonger Devils Pleasure Palace

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Walsh describes how America’s sense of cultural inferiority made it vulnerable to attacks from European intellectuals in the postwar years–and how this led to the Left’s current domination of our campuses and media. He also describes the power of storytelling and names his favorite living writer of fiction.

More

Why does Hannibal still fascinate us, more than 2,000 years after his death? And what’s the deal with his famous war elephants?Bookmonger John J Miller

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Eve MacDonald takes up these questions and many more. She’s the author of Hannibal: A Hellenistic Life, and she discusses why this ancient general’s march across the Alps was so bold as well as how his army hounded the Romans for years. She also discusses the fate of Carthage–and what human culture lost when the Romans finally destroyed it, following Hannibal’s death.

More

Don’t say, “Anasazi!” That word is now politically incorrect, says David Roberts, author of The Lost World of the Old Ones: Discoveries in the Ancient Southwest.Bookmonger John J Miller

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Roberts describes the romance of the ruins of the American southwest, what happened to the ancient people who lived there, and the weird politics behind what we’re supposed to call them.

More

“This is the most important book published on James Madison in my lifetime,” says Paul Rahe, a Ricochet contributor as well as a scholar who is qualified to say such a thing. Bookmonger Mind of James MadisonHe refers to The Mind of James Madison, a new book by Colleen A. Sheehan of Villanova University.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Sheehan argues that James Madison is America’s great political philosopher, describes how his involvement in practical politics shaped his ideas, and what he would think of our government today. She also says that some of his most important writings are poorly appreciated and rarely read.

More

For his first job in politics, Barton Swaim worked for the former governor best known as “the guy with the Argentinian mistress” and less well known as Mark Sanford of South Carolina (who is now, astonishingly, a congressman). Bookmonger Barton Swain SpeechwriterSwaim writes what it was like to live through the scandal in The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics — but his book is really about much more.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Swaim discusses what speechwriters do, the art and often artlessness of political speech, and whether George Orwell was correct when he claimed that “political writing is bad writing.”

More

President Obama likes to portray himself as a new Abraham Lincoln or FDR, but he’s more like a James Buchanan or Herbert Hoover, Bookmonger Shattered Concensussays James Piereson, author of Shattered Consensus: The Rise and Decline of America’s Postwar Political Order.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Piereson explains why we’re on the verge of what he calls “America’s Fourth Revolution,” whether we’ll have to endure a new economic crisis to get there, and whether the 2016 elections hold any hope for resolving our current dilemmas of slow growth, entitlements, and debt.

More

Brad Thor writes summertime thrillers and his latest, Code of Conduct, once again features counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath [note: yes, it’s Scot with one T] on a mission to save America, this time from a sinister international group.Bookmonger Brad Thor Code of Conduct Cover His story also involves a mysterious, real-life monument called the “George Guidestones” (look it up on Wikipedia, and be sure to note the Yoko Ono reference).

Best of all, Thor is a man of the Right — and he isn’t afraid to act like one, even if it means alienating liberal readers. In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, he explains his views, his public profile, and why he adopted his slogan: “Stay in the Fight.”

More

The state of the American mind is … not good, according to Mark Bauerlein, co-editor of The State of the American Mind: 16 Leading Critics on the New Anti-Intellectualism,American Mind Bookmonger a collection of essays just published by the Templeton Press.

Although IQ tests show that Americans are getting smarter, says Bauerlein, we don’t really know more than we did a generation or two ago — and a lot of what we think we know is in fact mistaken, such as the notion that everyone who is poor deserves welfare because all poor people are equally deserving.

More

Don Winslow’s new novel The Cartel may be to Mexican drug lords of today what “The Godfather” Bookmonger The Cartelwas to the Mafia in the 1960s and 1970s–a great story full of compelling characters, as well as a good way to learn about the motives and methods of a super-violent criminal organization.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Winslow describes why he wanted to write about Mexican drug trafficking, how he researched his topic, and why he dedicated his book to murdered journalists. He also critiques the American war on drugs (spoiler alert: he’s not a fan).

More

“Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov,” as Sting sings in “Don’t Stand So Close To Me.Bookmonger Nabakov in America Robert Roper

In a 10-minutes conversation with The Bookmonger, Robert Roper — author of Nabokov in America — explains the man behind the lyric, his love affair with America, and why his novel Lolita continues to cause such a fuss. Roper also discussed Nabokov’s friendship with William F. Buckley Jr. and whether Nabokov was a conservative.

More

The first President Bush was more conservative that most conservatives realize, according to his former chief of staff, John H. Sununu, in The Quiet Man: The Indispensable Presidency of George H.W. Bush.Bookmonger The Quiet Man

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Sununu makes a spirited case for his former boss, defending a record that includes a tax-hiking budget bill and the nomination of David Souter to the Supreme Court–as well as a series of domestic-policy accomplishments that aren’t properly appreciated today, he says. He declines to endorse a GOP presidential candidate, but talks about what Republicans must do to win in 2016.

More

Did J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis write silly fantasies about elves and magic wardrobes, or were they two of the most important authors of the 20th century?Bookmonger Inklings

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Carol Zaleski defends their legacy. She is the co-author (with her husband Philip Zaleski) of The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, and she discusses not only Tolkien and Lewis but also their two lesser-known friends, Owen Barfield and Charles Williams. She explains what they believed, how they encouraged each other, and why English professors have been so slow to embrace them.

More

Hillsdale College professor Will Morrisey says they may be the two greatest statesmen on their time, and he’s written a book about them: Churchill and de Gaulle: The Geopolitics of Liberty.Bookmonger Churchill de Gualle

The case for Churchill’s greatness is familiar, but what about the French guy? In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Morrisey explains his admiration for a leader whose career spanned much of the 20th century, from the horrors of First World War, through the disaster of the Second World War, and on to the West’s confrontation with Communism in the Cold War.

More

Neal Stephenson, one of today’s most acclaimed writers of science fiction, joins the Bookmonger SevenevesThe Bookmonger for a 10-minute conversation about his palindromic new novel, Seveneves, which begins this way: “The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.”

We also discuss his worries about space debris and near-earth objects, his nostalgia for manned space exploration, and his interest in NASA’s upcoming fly-by of Pluto. Finally, Stephenson explains why his books are so darn long (Seveneves is 867 pages) in an age of allegedly decreasing attention spans.

More

What would Ronald Reagan think of the Republican Party today? That’s one of the questions H.W. Brands takes up in The Bookmonger’s 10-minute podcast about his newest book, Reagan: The Life.Unknown

Brands is a veteran biographer of presidents, already having written on Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, and both Roosevelts. He discusses why he wanted to write this book next as well as how he handled the problem that has haunted so many biographers of the 40th president: The claim that nobody really knew the man. Brands also reveals whether he voted for Reagan in the 1980s–and whether it’s even possible for a historian who participated in one of those elections to write dispassionately on this subject now.

More

“You didn’t build that,” said President Obama, notoriously. Oh yes we did, replies Philip F. Anschutz, in his new book, Out Where the West Begins: Profiles, Visions, and Strategies of Early Western Business Leaders.Bookmonger Out Where the West Begins

Anschutz doesn’t reply directly–the book is a work of history and “Obama” doesn’t appear in the index–but the president’s words were on his mind as he about finishing his manuscript, as he explains in this podcast with The Bookmonger.

More

The bicentennial of one of the greatest battles in history is almost upon us — and Bernard Cornwell provides a new account of it in Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles.Bookmonger Waterloo Ricochet

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Cornwell describes what was at stake on June 18, 1815, whether Napoleon or Wellington was the better general, and what it was like to be an ordinary soldier on the battlefield (short answer: awful). He also discusses why he paused his novel writing for this book, his first — an apparently last — work of nonfiction.

More
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6