Carl Cannon writes about “the degraded conditions of our dysfunctional, rude, hair-on-fire politics”–but also says they’ve been pretty bad before, in On This Date: Discovering America One Day at a Time.

In a 10-minute conversation with the Bookmonger, Cannon describes how this book was born from the morning emails he writes as Washington Bureau Chief of RealClearPolitics, how he tells the story of America with an unconventional narrative, and why being American comes to us as a gift but turns into an obligation.

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George Washington was a warrior and a farmer and a leader. Was he also a reader? Kevin J. Hayes says “yes,” in George Washington: A Life in Books.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Hayes discusses what Washington liked to read, whether he felt intimidated around great minds such as Jefferson and Hamilton, and why nobody has written an intellectual biography of him.

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The world is more dangerous today than it was just a year ago, says Brad Thor, author of the new thriller, Use of Force.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Thor describes the inspiration for his latest page-turner, discusses the usefulness of “black contracts,” and tells why he thinks the Burning Man festival is an obvious target for terrorists.

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It’s a debate in the form of a book: Selfish Libertarians and Socialist Conservatives? The Foundations of the Libertarian-Conservative Debate, by Nathan W. Schlueter and Nikolai G. Wenzel.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Schlueter and Wenzel describe their different opinions about immigration, marriage, and other issues as well as explain why their debate matters more than ever in the era of President Trump.

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Lots of people read and watched National Review’s William F. Buckley Jr.–and some of them did it from the White House, explains Alvin S. Felzenberg in A Man and His Presidents: The Political Odyssey of William F. Buckley Jr.

In a short conversation with The Bookmonger, Felzenberg explains Buckley’s behind-the-scenes role as a political advisor, how Buckley got to know Ronald Reagan, and what Buckley (who died in 2008) might think of President Trump.

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What’s so special about the Special Forces? Mark Moyar tells all in Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America’s Special Operations Forces.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Moyar describes how Navy SEALS, Delta Force, and others differ from the conventional military, why presidents and the public are prone to romanticizing them, how President Trump ought to use them.

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They plotted a literary revolution. Both became famous in their time, but only one endures in the popular imagination today, says James McGrath Morris, author of The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Morris describes why Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos drove ambulances during the First World War rather than served as soldiers, how they became pals, and which of their books are worth reading today. He also describes the poltical journey of Dos Passos, who began life on the pacifist left and finished it as a contributor to National Review.

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Confronted by Russian aggression, Islamic terrorism, and rising nationalism, Europe is in an existential crisis, says James Kirchick, author of The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues, and the Coming Dark Age.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Kirchick explains why Americans must care more about the continent’s fate as well as which threat worries him the most. Then he describes a worst-case scenario for the future of Europe.

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What’s the case for classical studies in the 21st century? Eric Adler offers an answer in Classics, the Culture Wars, and Beyond.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Adler says that there’s more value in the study of classics than most people realize, but that scholars often don’t know how to respond to public interest in their field. He also describes the reputation of Victor Davis Hanson, probably the best-known classicist in the United States but also a controversial figure among his academic peers.

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What’s the meaning of meaning? Now there’s a heady question–but one that Emily Esfahani Smith tackles with clear-headed, narrative prose in The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Smith discusses the ingredients of a meaningful life, argues that happiness is overrated, and describes how the rise of social media and the decline of religious faith have shaped the modern search for meaning.

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They’re unelected, unaccountable, and out of control–and Paul D. Moreno takes them on in The Bureaucrat Kings: The Origins and Underpinnings of America’s Bureaucratic State.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Moreno describes how and why Congress has allowed the administration state to grow in size and strength for more than a century–and what citizens and statesmen can do right now to recover what we’ve lost.

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From the Peloponnesian Wars and Punic Wars of antiquity to America’s 20th-century confrontation with the Soviet Union, we have much to learn from the clashes of the past, says James Lacey, editor of Great Strategic Rivalries: From the Classical World to the Cold War.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Lacey describes the rules of rivalries, from how they start to how they end, and discusses possible major rivalries of the 21st century. He also provides advice on how the United States can prepare for the inevitable showdown.

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Art and politics always have mixed, but lately the art world has surrendered to the toxic cult of race, gender, and class, says Sohrab Ahmari in The New Philistines: How Identity Politics Disfigure the Arts.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Ahmari explains how a rotten production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream compelled him to write his book, how contemporary artistic treatments of race differ from the sophistication of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, and where Americans can find great art today.

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“I do not exaggerate to propose that this may prove to be William F. Buckley’s finest book ever,” says Christopher Buckley, about a brand-new volume of his late father’s work, A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century, a collection of eulogies edited by James Rosen of Fox News.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Rosen explains how he came up with the idea for this book, what made WFB such an excellent stylist, and how WFB managed to range in these brief compositions from the likes of Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan to John Lennon and Jerry Garcia.

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Conservatives always complain about the liberal media. But when did they start to fight it? Right from the start, says Nicole Hemmer in Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Hemmer explains how conservatives in the 1940s and 1950s made liberal media bias an political issue, telling the stories of radio showman Clarence Manion and National Review publisher Bill Rusher. She also describes what today’s conservatives can learn from these figures of yesteryear.

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Did Ronald Reagan get one of his best ideas from John F. Kennedy? That’s what Lawrence Kudlow and Brian Domitrovic claim in JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Kudlow and Domitrovic discuss why we haven’t heard this story before, why Democrats have abandoned their hero’s supply-side legacy, and whether Donald Trump’s tax plan is in the Kennedy and Reagan tradition of believing tax cuts are better than tax hikes at generating revenue.

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The biggest challenge the next president faces almost certainly will be an unexpected disaster, says Tevi Troy, author of Shall We Wake the President? Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Troy talks about disasters in all their forms, from terrorist attacks to the Zika virus, and describes the role of presidents, the federal government, and ordinary citizens in prevention and response. He points to the worst disaster-manager in U.S. history (we’re looking at you, Woodrow Wilson) and predicts the event that will come to be seen as the great disaster of the next four to eight years.

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Joining us from the devastated city of Homs in Syria is Marwa al-Sabouni, author of The Battle for Home: The Vision of a Young Architect in Syria.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, al-Sabouni describes what life is like in Syria today, how architecture contributed to her county’s problems, and how a Syrian woman comes to speak English and become an architect. She also talks about her relationship to Roger Scruton, who wrote the foreword to her book.

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John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood were like Indiana Jones–except that they were real people rather than Hollywood fantasies, and William Carlsen tells their tale in Jungle of Stone: The True Story of Two Men, Their Extraordinary Journey, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Carlsen describes what these adventurers and archaeologists accomplished in the 1830s and 1840s, and also discusses the achievement of Maya civilization as well as why it vanished long ago.

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It’s perhaps the easiest problem in America to ignore: the grinding poverty and dysfunction of Indian reservations–and Naomi Schaefer Riley gives it every bit of her attention in The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Riley explains how the federal government makes life worse for these citizens, why property rights and better schools are part of the solution, and what 21st-century Americans owe to a group of people that Washington has abused for a long time.

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Daniel Oppenheimer is no conservative, but he’s fascinated by the political conversions of people who’ve moved rightward over time, such as Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Ronald Reagan, Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz, and Christopher Hitchens — and now he’s written a book about them, Exit Right: The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Oppenheimer talks about how he became interested in their stories, what his subjects share in common, and whether he — a self-described leftist — is a target for conservative conversion.

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