Category Archives: Reviews

Christopher Hitchens Remembered…

How, five years after his sad, untimely death aged 61, should we explain the phenomenon of Christopher Hitchens? He was more loved, and more hated, than any journalist, and inspired devotion unseen since, perhaps, Henry Louis Mencken. He inspired countless … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Reviews | 6 Comments

Truth, Imagination and Imperfection…

An early essay in The Halls of Uselessness, Pierre Ryckmans’ elegant and enlightening collection of a prose, is a review of Christopher Hitchens’ The Missionary Position. That venomous tract, bearing a title no dignified publisher should have accepted, reminds Ryckmans … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Literature, Reviews | 4 Comments

The Irrepressible Intellectual…

Human minds have struggled to cope with the pace of change in modern civilisation. In the first few decades of the twentieth century, our great-grandparents faced world war, genocide, totalitarianism and the looming threat of a nuclear holocaust. Men looked … Continue reading

Posted in Appreciations, Reviews, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Glum Prophecies of the Lasch…

A nice historical coincidence is that John Updike shared a room at Harvard with Christopher Lasch. Characters in Updike’s novels desperately pursue their “psychic self-improvement” in promiscuity, acquisition and introspection. Lasch wrote of such baby boomers in his non-fiction works. … Continue reading

Posted in Appreciations, Reviews, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Captive Minds…

How do intelligent men learn to love stupidity? How do artists come to appreciate barbarism? These questions troubled Czesław Miłosz as he wrote The Captive Mind. A Polish poet, in exile for his dissident stance, he wanted to explore the … Continue reading

Posted in Belief, From the Archives, Ideology, Reviews | Leave a comment

The Abstract and the Actual…

Having called Murray Rothbard a more readable and likeable advocate for libertarianism than Ayn Rand I was inspired to re-visit the irrepressible old anarcho-capitalist and have been savouring his Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature, and Other Essays. It has … Continue reading

Posted in Anarchism, Ideology, Libertarianism, Reviews | 1 Comment

Nightmares of an Eminent Person…

Ray Monk’s biography of Bertrand Russell’s later life, The Ghosts of Madness, is among the most depressing books that I have ever read. For readers who think of Russell as the twinkly grandfather of liberal humanism it will come as … Continue reading

Posted in Behaviour, Belief, Family, From the Archives, Rationalism, Reviews | Leave a comment