Tag Archives: book reviews

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Imagined Objections
Deconstructing Anti-Nationalism in Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities

8,161 words

Benedict Anderson
Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism
Rev. ed., New York: Verso, 2006

After the Second World War, a large portion of the academic class went into overdrive dissecting and pathologizing the ideas and forces, both actual and concocted, which served as the foundations for nationalism. Read more …

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The Evolution of Commentary

2,688 words

Benjamin Balint
Running Commentary: The Contentious Magazine that Transformed the Jewish Left into the Neoconservative Right
New York: PublicAffairs, 2010

Running Commentary is a lively and well-researched work of intellectual history that is of interest both as an account of how a group of alienated dissidents came to revolutionize American politics and as a history of neoconservatism that details the movement’s Jewish origins. Read more …

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Re-Kindling Alan Watts, Part Two

9,927 words

Part 2 of 2. Part 1 here.

Partings II – Watts and The Church Today: Real Presence or Real Estate?

Watts was quite successful in his attempt to express the religio perennis in the language of Christian theology; not just in my opinion today, but among his Episcopal peers at the time (one bishop even called it “the most important book on religion in this century”[1]), Read more …

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Going Somewhere?
A Review of David Goodhart’s The Road to Somewhere

6,100 words


Audio version: To listen in a player, use the one above or click here. To download the mp3, right-click here and choose “save link as” or “save target as.” To subscribe to the CC podcast RSS feed, click here.

David Goodhart
The Road to Somewhere: The New Tribes Shaping British Politics
London: Penguin, 2017 Read more …

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Re-Kindling Alan Watts, Part One

9,403 words

Part 1 of 2

Alan W. Watts
Behold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion
New York: Pantheon, 1947; reissued with a new Preface, 1971
Kindle, 2016

“For God is not niggardly in his self-revelation; he exposes himself right before our eyes.” — Alan Watts Read more …

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An Academic Study of the North American New Right

2,185 words

Damon T. Berry
Blood and Faith: Christianity in American White Nationalism
Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2017

When I was in graduate school, one of my professors likened grading undergraduate exams to fever dreams, in which the events of the day — or, in his case, a whole semester’s worth of lectures — come back in garbled form. I have had the same experience reading about my ideas in the mainstream media.  Read more …

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Johann Gottfried Herder on Music & Nationalism

2,495 words

Johann Gottfried Herder
Song Loves the Masses: Herder on Music and Nationalism
Translated and edited by Philip V. Bohlman
Oakland: University of California Press, 2017

Johann Gottfried Herder was an 18th-century German philosopher, theologian, translator, and critic. He wrote on many subjects: political philosophy, philosophy of mind, philosophy of history, metaphysics, linguistics, philology, art, religion, mythology, and music. Read more …

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Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

1,416 words

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea remains imprinted upon the mind long after one has read it. It is one of Mishima’s shorter novels, but its tightly-woven narration heightens the intensity of the atmosphere, simulating a taut bowstring upon readying an arrow.

The novel takes place in Yokohama, Japan’s leading port city, during the American occupation, and unfolds mainly from the perspective of a 13-year-old boy by the name of Noboru Kuroda. Read more …

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Magical Miserablism:
Robert Stark’s Myths of the Near Future

3,584 words

Robert Stark
Journey to Vapor Island
Lulu.com, 2017

“The fact that he wears lipstick and long gloves is not calculated to endear him to the stuffy . . . In fact, more of our young novelists should wear lipstick and even nail varnish. It might brighten up their prose styles . . . The fact that his work is concerned with sex on a most serious level is also not calculated to recommend him to the sort of people who organise these literary jamborees.” — J. G. Ballard[1] 

Read more …

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The Devil in the Detail:
A Review of Ryszard Legutko’s The Demon in Democracy

5,650 words

Audio version: To listen in a player, use the one above or click here. To download the mp3, right-click here and choose “save link as” or “save target as.” To subscribe to the CC podcast RSS feed, click here. Read more …

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