When it comes to ancient Greece, Athens gets all the attention–but Sparta deserves most of the credit for the defeat of the Persians during the classical period, says author and Ricochet contributor Paul A. Rahe in his new book, The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta: The Persian Challenge.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Rahe argues that the West owes much more to the Spartans than 300 (which is an excellent movie) and accuses many historians of overrating the importance of Athens. He explains why he calls the Persian invasion a “jihad” and whether the Spartans have any lessons to teach Americans in the 21st century.

More

The world changed on All Saints Day in 1755, when a massive earthquake, tsunami, and firestorm struck at the heart of the Portuguese empire, reports Mark Molesky in This Gulf of Fire: The Destruction of Lisbon, or Apocalypse in the Age of Science and Reason.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Molesky explains how this cataclysm shaped scientific and intellectual history, launched the world’s first international relief effort, and revealed the enduring role of faith in European society. He also speculates on what would happen if similar earthquake were to take place near Europe today.

More

What do Martin Luther, Albrecht Durer, and the Shroud of Turin have in common? They all play a part in the new comic novel by Christopher Buckley, The Relic Master.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, the author of Thank You for Smoking explains why he wanted to write a story about the market for holy relics in 16th-century Europe, which turns out to be almost as funny as 21st-century America.

More

On the pop-culture Richter scale, Gary Gygax deserves a place alongside Walt Disney and Steve Jobs, says Michael Witwer, author of Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons and Dragons. In other words, Gygax was a 12th-level genius.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Witwer explains the significance of D&D (as players call it). He also describes what Gygax was like as a man: a high-school dropout who read voraciously but was not prepared to run a business. Finally, Witwer says a word about the politics of his subject: Gygax was a fervent Republican who become increasingly libertarian as he grew older.

More

Is Washington killing you? That’s the question Darcy Olsen raises in her new book, The Right To Try: How the Federal Government Prevents Americans from Getting the Lifesaving Treatments They Need.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Olsen describes how she got involved in a national movement to help severely sick patients, what she’s trying to accomplish, and how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stands in the way.

More

What if Dick Cheney were to participate in the modern-day equivalent of the Frost-Nixon interviews? Now he has, in Cheney One on One: A Candid Conversation with America’s Most Controversial Statesman, by James Rosen of Fox News.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Rosen describes how he sat with Cheney for 10 hours as they talked about everything from the events of 9-11 to the former veep’s views of the Tea Party. Rosen also offers a unique theory on why Cheney is so disliked by so many liberals.

More

One of the most important conservatives of the 20th century now has his definitive biography, in Russell Kirk: American Conservative, by Bradley J. Birzer of Hillsdale College.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Birzer describes the life and legacy of Kirk, how he became the first researcher to gain complete access to Kirk’s papers, and what Kirk would think of the conservative movement today, a generation after his death.

More

Why do so many people enjoy feeling afraid? Margee Kerr tries to make sense of this paradox in Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, she describes why people seek out haunted-house attractions. She also explains her book’s epigraph from Edmund Burke: “Terror is a passion which always produces delight when it does not press too close.” Finally, she names the scariest movie she’s ever seen.

More

Around Halloween, I like to read horror stories. Edgar Allan Poe is one of the greats–think “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”–and now he’s available in The Annotated Poe, a new collection of stories, poems, and annotations from Harvard University Press.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, editor Kevin J. Hayes explains how he selected the table of contents, what he has tried to accomplish with the book’s annotations, and where he ranks Poe among the best American writers. He also replies to the famous put-down from Henry James, who claimed that “enthusiasm for Poe is the mark of a decidedly primitive stage of reflection.”

More

Life doesn’t end when guys marry and have kids–that’s when life begins, say Jim Geraghty, co-author with Cam Edwards of Heavy Lifting: Grow Up, Get a Job, Start a Family, and Other Manly Advice.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Geraghty explains what’s so great about marriage and fatherhood, why millennials need to hear his message, and why he’s obsessed with Ward Cleaver.

More

You’ve heard about the Winston Churchill who won the Second World War. Have you also heard about the one who spent his life fighting socialism? Hillsdale College president Larry P. Arnn describes them both in his new book, Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Arnn discusses why we haven’t heard so much about Churchill the foe of socialism, why his message matters to 21st-century Americans, and what he’d make of Bernie Sanders, the “democratic socialist” who presently seeks his party’s presidential nomination.

More

“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
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7