The University Bookman has long been concerned with
issues of the nature of history and historical memory. We are
therefore pleased to present in this issue a major review-essay
on historical thinking, by Mark G. Malvasi. Malvasi captures
the complexity of the debate, and explains why prominent figures
such as John Lewis Gaddis and Constantin Fasolt fail in their
recent books to grasp the true scope of the “postmodern” challenge
to the practice of Western historiography and to historical consciousness
itself. Russell Kirk, too, in some of his works, saw through
the false objectivity of Enlightenment history, and sought to
reinject a sense of narrative and the subjective into history
without falling into a crude relativism.

As another election season rolls upon us later this year, this
issue includes some timely books on the nature of our constitutional
republic. Charles Dunn reviews a new reader on the presidency,
the image of whom has changed from the relatively modest executor
of the people’s law to a combination Solomon/Samson and
therapist-in-chief. Joseph Devaney examines a new work from the
unlikely precincts of the Yale law School that dares to challenge
prevailing orthodoxy on the Fourteenth Amendment. And Paul Gottfried
contributes a review of a study of John Calhoun, one of the few
true first-rank political theorists America has produced.

Finally, among other significant pieces, we offer a “Letter
from Italy” discussing new books published on the Continent
that we believe will be of interest to our readers, a feature we
expect to continue in the coming issues.