Books of interest

Do you know of a book we should all read?
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If there is a relevant book you would like to suggest that forum members read together please private message Gavin who will create a subforum for it. Thereafter you're free to create your own introduction (in which you might suggest target dates), topics for each chapter and anything else.

Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 04 Mar 2012, 17:56

Aside from the complete works of Dalrymple, here are some other books which I have read and would recommend to forum members:

Look at Me - Celebrating the Self in Modern Britain by Peter WhittleThe Retreat of Reason - Political Correctness and the Corruption of Public Debate in Modern Britain by Anthony BrowneAmerica Alone - The End of the World as We Know It by Mark SteynRemotely Controlled - How television is damaging our lives by Aric SigmanWhile Europe Slept - How Radical Islam Is Destroying the West from Within by Bruce BawerLondonistan - How Britain is Creating a Terror State Within by Melanie Phillips


Here are some others which are either on my "wish list" or on my bookcase waiting to be read:

The Poverty of Multiculturalism by Patrick WestThe Spoilt Generation - Why Restoring Authority Will Make Our Children and Society Happier by Aric SigmanNeoconservatism - Why We Need It by Douglas MurrayPolitically Incorrect Guide to Socialism by Kevin WilliamsonThe West and the Rest - Globalisation and the Terrorist Threat by Roger ScrutonThe Miseducation of Women by James Tooley


Feel free to recommend some titles yourself. You can either just post the titles as standard links or see how I posted the book covers (or I might relink them as covers later).
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 04 Mar 2012, 20:18

n.b. There are politically incorrect guides to plenty of other subjects too, from the British Empire to Capitalism, to Islam - they look great.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Rachel » 04 Mar 2012, 23:18

The Abolition of Liberty by Peter HitchensThe Abolition of Britain by Peter Hitchens
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 04 Mar 2012, 23:42

Thanks Rachel! I have those on my bookcase here too. Hitchens P has said some very good things.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Michael » 05 Mar 2012, 03:50

Some books I recently finished that forum members may find enlightening:

Roger Scruton - The Uses of Pessimism & The Dangers of False Hope

An incredibly interesting exploration of the philosophical (as opposed to merely logical) fallacies underlining utopian thinking, and a plea for the richness and depth of living in a way that accepts and embraces the tragic dimension of life.

David Stove - What's Wrong With Enlightenment: Happiness, Private Property, and the Limits of Enlightenment

An intriguing argument against the welfare state, based on the natural tendency of the poor and indigent to multiply to meet the limits of the help provided to them. In addition to being thought provoking (ultimately I did not agree with it) it is a very, very funny.

Jose Ortega y Gasset - The Revolt of the Masses

A very good study of the principle of natural aristocracy and the true aristocratic character - being a person who sets a standard of perfection before themselves and strives at all times to attain to it. Gasset argues that the new age of mass democracy (he published the original Spanish version in 1930) does not, like previous society, acknowledge their existence and seeks to pull them down to the level of the common mass, who only wants what is easy.

Richard Pipes - Russia Under The Old Regime

An exceptional, gripping book about the tsarist regime in Russia, and the causes of its decline and fall. Pipes covers a vast array of topics form geography to history to Idealist philosophy, drawing on all of them to build a comprehensive, incredibly insightful picture. I highly recommend it. I have posted some of my favourite quotes from the book on my blog.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Caleb » 05 Mar 2012, 04:50

The Closing of the American Mind, by Allan Bloom, is definitely on my wish list.

In short, it is about how liberal education is failing students culturally at the university level.

I'd also like to read some of Harold Bloom's books, including:

How to Read and Why and The Western Canon

The titles are fairly self-explanatory.

Allan Bloom distanced himself from conservatism, and Harold Bloom is left-wing, yet they both came/come from the old guard who believe(d) that our culture has produced great things that are worth passing on to future generations.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 01 Apr 2012, 21:47

Suckers - How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All by Rose Shapiro
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 17 May 2012, 20:42

Civilisation by Niall Ferguson
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 19 Aug 2012, 15:12

by Andrew Anthony
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Rachel » 21 Aug 2012, 12:24

As further to the "Suckers" alternative medicine book. I would recommend "The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine by Dr James Le Fanu:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rise-Fall-Moder ... 506&sr=1-1


This is seriously one of the best books I have read in my life.

The first part tells the history of the 10 greatest discoveries in medicine. It includes the invention of antiobiotics, steroids, chemotherapy, beta blockers and ends with the discovery of heliobactor and the cure for gastric ulcers. It is written using obscure primary sources and doesn't ramble. It's very well written. Most of the stories are much more dramatic than any fictional novel could be.

The 2nd part of the books explains why we don't have any wonderful inventions like those anymore and why we have "alternative medicine" fads instead. In that sense it fits in with the "Suckers" book listed before.

It puts in context Dalrymple essay "When Should You Take Antibiotics:
http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2012/07/24 ... epage=true
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Clare » 24 Aug 2012, 20:03

A continuation of the medical theme. I read Raymond Tallis' "Hippocratic Oaths" a few years ago and found it to be incisive, well-researched and well-written. TD is often quoted in it. In fact this book was how I found TD and I am therefore much indebted to Mr Tallis.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hippocratic-Oat ... 246&sr=1-9

I was less impressed with "The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine" although I agree with Rachel that the first part of the book is enjoyable. The second part of the book seemed sensationalist to me.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Matthew » 06 Sep 2012, 05:38

Below are around 30 recently published (2005 to present) books that I found edifying, amusing, or both. I have organized the list by genre.

Fiction.

Kazuo Ishiguro. Never Let Me Go. 2005.
Apuleius and Sarah Ruden (trans.). The Golden Ass. 2012.

These are the only fiction entries. I thought very hard and scanned my shelves, but Mr. Ishiguro's most recent novel and Ms. Ruden's translation of a very old one are the only pieces of fiction released during this period that I enjoyed. I should add, however, that several novels that I admire very much (e.g., The Corrections, Gilead, Atonement) were released slightly earlier in the last decade.

Biography.

Zachary Leader. The Life of Kingsley Amis. 2007.
Ron Chernow. George Washington. 2010.
Nigel Smith. Andrew Marvell. 2010.
Ian Ker. G.K. Chesterton. 2011.
Ian Donaldson. Ben Jonson. 2012.
Andrew Hadfield. Edmund Spenser. 2012.

As you can see, the last seven years have been very good for those who enjoy biography, especially literary biography. The past three years alone have given us major biographies of three very important early modern English poets.

Memoir.

Julian Barnes. Nothing to Be Frightened Of. 2008.

A genre I enjoy very much, but one that has declined significantly due to the increased popularity of so-called "celebrity hardbacks."

History.

Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. Mao: The Unknown Story. 2005.
A.C. Grayling. Among the Dead Cities. 2006.
Andrew Roberts. A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900. 2007.
Eamon Duffy. Fires of Faith. 2009.
Frank Dikotter. Mao's Great Famine. 2010.

I recommend especially the two books about China, both of which I think are destined to become anti-totalitarian classics after the fashion of Robert Conquest's The Great Terror.

Poetry.

Philip Larkin. Complete Poems. 2012.

Plenty of great poetry has been reissued in the last seven years, but this is the only book I can think of that contains great poems that were previously unavailable. Larkin and Sir John Betjeman are the only two English poets of the second half of the twentieth century whom I can stand.

Philosophy.

Alasdair Macintyre. After Virtue (revised third ed.) 2007.
Charles Taylor. A Secular Age. 2007.
Roger Scruton. Beauty. 2009.
Roger Scruton and Mark Dooley (ed.). The Roger Scruton Reader. 2009.
W.J. Mander. British Idealism: A History. 2011.

The problem with recommending recent work in philosophy is that much of the best (or at least the most analytically rigorous) work in this field is being done in the form of academic journal articles rather than at book length. Hence, one of these is a revision of a book released several decades ago (After Virtue), and another is intended for a popular rather than a scholarly audience (Beauty).

Theology and Religion.

David Bentley Hart. The Doors of the Sea. 2005.
Pope Bendict XVI. Jesus of Nazareth (two vols.) 2007/11.
David Bentley Hart. In the Aftermath. 2008.
David Norton (ed.). The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible. 2009.
Conor Cunningham. Darwin's Pious Idea. 2010.

The Doors of the Sea responds to the problem of evil not by rationalizing evil a la John Hick or Richard Swinburne, but rather by reminding Christians that Christ vanquished evil for all time on the cross. "In the fullness of time," Hart argues, Christ will not explain our suffering but erase it.

Essays and Criticism.

Neil Jumonville (ed.). New York Intellectuals Reader. 2007.
Joseph Epstein. In a Cardboard Belt. 2007.
Stephen Medcalf. The Sprit of England. 2010.
Christopher Hitchens. Arguably. 2010.
Irving Kristol. The Neoconservative Persuasion. 2011.
Dwight Macdonald. Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain. 2011.

This is one of my favorite genres. As you can see, I am very much a fan of the New York Intellectuals, though I largely disagree with their politics.

Reference.

Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus. 2008.

A great tool, though inferior to my 1911 Roget's category thesaurus.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Elliott » 06 Sep 2012, 13:16

What did you think of Scruton's The Uses of Pessimism, Matthew?
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Matthew » 06 Sep 2012, 16:41

Elliott,

I read TUOP when it was published and at the time enjoyed it very much. I had not, however, read Scruton's masterpiece The Meaning of Conservatism at that point. I think the central lesson of TUOP (i.e., human nature is immutable and thus our view of it should be as well) can be found alongside much else of great value in TMOC.

The best thing about TUOP is its corrective spirit: in an age in which the Mr. Slipperies and the Willard "Fee Fee" Romneys tell us "Don't Stop Believing," Scruton seems to be saying, "Go ahead. Stop. Now."

BTW: If you enjoyed TUOP, you might also appreciate John Derbyshire's We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism (published only one month after TUOP, which Derbyshire reviewed in the New Criterion). Derbyshire is a very witty, breezy sort of writer; but some of his arguments (e.g., contra female suffrage) are very good.
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Re: Books of interest

Postby Gavin » 09 Sep 2012, 07:52

Darymple reviews Daniel Hannan's new book about an organisation full of unelected, dictatorial, self-serving bureaucrats - that's right, the European Union. The book looks to be well worth reading, not that I expect many people will pay it much attention!

TD wrote:"Alas, the British political class is composed largely of careerists. The only thing that will move them to action is popular anger, which, though it exists, remains muted. One can only hope that it is not catastrophe that brings about change, but Hannan’s brilliant little book, which could hardly be bettered or, more importantly, refuted—not that anyone will try, since in the Eurocrats’ world, ignoring arguments is the highest form of refutation. A Doomed Marriage deserves the widest possible circulation. Perhaps its author could apply for a European subsidy."
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