Our annual list of holiday gift suggestions from distinguished readers and writers.
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For those who would like to remember the elegance that once accompanied popular culture instead of the degradation that one finds now, Joseph Epstein’s Fred Astaire (Yale University) is a marvelous reminder.
As a patriot who cares deeply about this country and is continually assaulted by claims of America’s imperfections (surely there are some), I believe it is time for Americans to see each other anew and recognize how privileged we are to live in this nation. As a consequence, I read with great appreciation Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now (HarperCollins) by Peggy Noonan, a short but poignant take on the need for leaders who can summon greatness.
And last, I recommend Crush the Cell (Crown) by Michael Sheehan, the former counterterrorism czar in New York City. Mr. Sheehan points out with extraordinary clarity the need for operational intelligence as the anti-toxin for the disease of violent Islamic radicalism.
Herbert London is president of the Hudson Institute and author of the new book America’s Secular Challenge: The Rise of a New National Religion (Encounter Books).
CLIFFORD D. MAY
At the top of my list is Troublesome Young Men (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) by Lynne Olson. It’s about Winston Churchill and other British politicians in the 1930s who grasped the Nazi threat and did everything they could to sound the alarm to a public that did not want to hear and did not want to know.
Robert Ferrigno’s Prayers for the Assassin (Pocket Star) is a funny and frightening novel about an imagined future in the Islamic Republic of America. There are still some pockets of resistance: “Those peckerwoods in the Bible Belt are black-hearted infidels and eaters of swine, but you have to admit, they know how to make soda pop.”
Frederick W. Kagan’s Finding the Target: The Transformation of American Military Policy (Encounter) is essential reading on the challenges facing the American military.
His brother, Robert Kagan, has a new book this year: The Return of History and the End of Dreams (Knopf). He argues that “autocracy is making a comeback,” with Russia and China the most significant examples. His message: “History has returned and the democracies must come together to shape it or others will shape it for them.”
The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History (Norton) by Robert Conquest, summarizes what he has learned over the course of a life devoted to studying the lessons of the past.
Mary M. Leder was a teenager when, in 1931, her parents moved to the Soviet Union to pursue what might be called the Socialist Dream. Her parents were disillusioned within a very short time, but Mary met a guy, got married—and then could not leave for the next 34 years. I met her in the 1970s, then lost touch with her. Only recently did I learn that she had, in 2001, finally written and published her memoirs: My Life in Stalinist Russia: An American Woman Looks Back (Indiana University Press). It’s every bit as fascinating as her stories were.
Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank on terrorism.
ALFRED S. REGNERY
Many conservatives will be surprised to learn that the father of everything they hate — statism, high taxes, economic intervention by the feds, corporate welfare, the decline of federalism, and broad interpretation of the Constitution by the courts — is none other than founder, aide to George Washington, and one of the authors of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton. It is well told in Thomas DiLorenzo’s Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution — and What It Means for America Today (Crown Forum) — an eye-opener, an easy read, and a source of understanding about much that has gone wrong in America over the past century.
For those who think wars end when the truce has been signed, let me recommend Endgame 1945: The Missing Final Chapter of World War II by David Stafford (Little, Brown). Through the eyes of a diverse group of observers, this vivid historical account tells what went on in Europe for the three months following Germany’s surrender in April 1945, chronicling the overwhelming destruction, death, and sheer hopelessness that enveloped Europe, tempered only by the Allies’ attempts to bring peace, order, and democratic rule to the ruins of war. And what a lesson for those who naively think that pulling out of Iraq may be the end of that conflict.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?