The University Bookman
Reviewing Books that Build Culture
Deo Volente Labor Proficit
One way of defining “rationalism” (when the term is understood as a flaw rather than a virtue) is that it is the attempt to replace experience by technique. In his important new book, historian Jerry Muller takes on a particular species of rationalism: our modern fixation on replacing expert judgment with might be described as “the dictatorship of the quantifiable.”
There’s a phrase once heard in television commercials and now common on social media: life comes at you fast. The social media gag is often used to expose pundits who advocated position X two years ago, and now advocate position Y.
Michael Massing’s thesis in this massive undertaking, Fatal Discord, argues that the rift between Erasmus and Luther—now some five hundred years past—defines the rippling course then taken by the Western mind.
Imaginative Conservatism will be of primary interest to fans of Russell Kirk and those interested in the history of twentieth-century conservative thought. Kirk was one of the foremost voices of American conservatism and this look into his personal correspondence is invaluable to understand the man and the movement.
In The Philanthropic Revolution, Jeremy Beer succeeds in his two-pronged effort to delineate charity from philanthropy, both in their actual practice and in their distinct origins, and to expose the long-ignored skeletons of philanthropy’s deep, historical closets.
In the lobby of the Ford’s Theatre Center for Education and Leadership in Washington, D.C. stands a three-and-a-half-story tower of Lincoln books. It contains fewer than half of the fifteen thousand books—and counting—published about the sixteenth president.
Niall Ferguson’s The Square and the Tower is a short, sometimes too short, book that provides an interesting new perspective on history and how individuals’ personal networks—and networks of nations and corporate entities like businesses and associations—shape it
The second essay of Samuel Johnson’s entries in The Rambler was published on Saturday, March 24, 1750. The essay begins with what must be called a general experience of all mankind, thus including one’s own self-knowledge: “The mind of man is never satisfied with the objects immediately before it
Over the course of the 2016 Presidential election, Americans became very familiar with the resurgence of an old “ism”: populism. Elites attempted to revive the word as an accusation, one they hurled at Donald Trump and his supporters as on “the wrong side of history.”