Part III of our annual list of holiday gift suggestions from distinguished readers and writers. Today: R.R. Reno, Andrew Roberts, Roger Scruton, Brad Thor, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., and David Weigel.
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• These United States by Jake Rajs. Entertainment Weekly hailed this magnificent work as the “next best thing to a road trip” and with excellent reason. This is one of those books that everyone will pick up from your coffee table and not be able to put down. Dramatically capturing the beauty and coast-to-coast majesty of our amazing Republic, this is a patriotic ode to our beloved land of liberty and another can’t-miss gift.
Brad Thor is a bestselling author whose latest novel is Black List (Atria).
THE YEAR WAS 2009. The lamb being led to slaughter was Sam Tanenhaus, he of the New York Times. The proximate cause of the poor ingénue’s undoing was a book that Sam in his artlessness allowed some unknown publishing editor to goad him into perpetrating. The result was his 2009 opuscule, The Death of Conservatism, and even more humiliating the paperback edition, which came out one month before the 2010 electoral deluge. Still Liberals loved it, even if there has been very little talk of it since. For my part, I came out with an answer to Sam this spring, The Death of Liberalism. Sam is still ducking. Given all the hullabaloo out there in the aftermath of the late election, I think my book stands up rather well. I suggest reading both.
Or maybe you have had your fill of politics and want to read about a man who eschewed the presidency even while it was offered to him—after all, his name was Lincoln. I recommend Jason Emerson’s Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln, which portrays Abe’s sole surviving son, a man who became a captain of industry, a public figure in his own way, and, alas, a witness to the assassination of two presidents and to the death of his great father. Robert was there at his bedside as he breathed his last. There are two additional reasons I read this marvelous book. It includes a chapter on my great-grandfather, Captain P.D. Tyrrell, United States Secret Service, who broke the plot to steal Lincoln’s body (that is the personal reason), and it details the values of an alternative conservative era to our own, to wit, the Victorian Era. The key to understanding our era and the earlier era is reticence; Robert Todd Lincoln and P.D. would not know what to make of social media.
Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It, by Richard H. Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr., is a worthy gift for public policy readers. It deserves your vote. Also John Fund and Hans Von Spakovsky have written the invaluable Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk. The title is self-explanitory.
Finally, Tom Wolfe has a new book out, Back to Blood. It has all the pantywaist novelists and unimaginative critics of a commissar sensibility in grievous dudgeon over its political incorrectness, its hilarious scenes, its inability to find meaning where there is none. Its Karamazovian scenes with the modern-day Russians are worth the price of admission, but then there are WASPs, Cuban Americans, American blacks, Haitians, and all kinds of journalists, shrinks, and tycoons—all are stewing in contemporary Miami. Wolfe has outdone himself.
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is the founder and editor of The American Spectator. His most recent book is The Death of Liberalism (Thomas Nelson).
Do Not Ask What Good We Do by Robert Draper. In 2010, the sometime biographer of George W. Bush—not sympatico, but sympathetic—decided to profile the incoming class of House Republicans. He picked a few characters and followed them closely, conducting hours of interviews in D.C. and in their districts, and on the planes back and forth. He delved deep into the forgotten history of the unglamorous back bench of the lower chamber.
The result is tough on the new class, but more compelling than a study of debt limit and continuing resolution votes has any right to be.
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.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?