The University Bookman

Reviewing Books that Build Culture
Deo Volente Labor Proficit

Prophets of Paradise?

Jacob Bruggeman discusses the techno-utopian dream in a review of Nicholas Carr’s Utopia Is Creepy.

Defending Against the Old Chaos

Francis P. Sempa reviews The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire by A. Wess Mitchell.

Not Enough Argument

Oliver Traldi reviews Samuel Moyn’s Not Enough.

The (Mis)measure of Man

The (Mis)measure of Man

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.”

Athwart Silicon Valley

Athwart Silicon Valley

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.

The Two Minds that Made Europe

The Two Minds that Made Europe

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.

Put In This World to Do Battle

Put In This World to Do Battle

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.

Philanthropy Is Not Charity

Philanthropy Is Not Charity

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.

Cracking Jokes at the Crack of Doom

Cracking Jokes at the Crack of Doom

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.

The Cycles of Networked History?

The Cycles of Networked History?

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

From Hope to Hope: On the Mind of Man

From Hope to Hope: On the Mind of Man

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

The Questions Behind Populism

The Questions Behind Populism

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.”

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