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Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kids Into College, by Andrew Ferguson
In the Basement of the Ivory Tower: Confessions of an Accidental Academic, by "Professor X"
One of the strongest pieces of evidence that our civilization has descended into madness was offered by National Public Radio in April 2007. NPR's Robert Siegel was interviewing Melinda Gates, wife of Bill Gates and custodian of a new $60 million education reform initiative the Gates foundation was launching. "Can we reasonably expect 100 percent... Read More
Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic, by Michael Scammell
Coming face to face with one's favorite author, Arthur Koestler warned an admirer in 1975, is "a bit like having a wonderful meal of goose liver and then meeting the goose." Something similar applies to reading a really thorough biography of a writer one has long admired. Michael Scammell's new biography of Koestler was ten... Read More
Kipling Sahib: India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1900, by Charles Allen
There are three stories to be told about Rudyard Kipling. First there is the straightforward biography, telling us what the man did and what happened to him. There have been many of these, Andrew Lycett's 1999 Rudyard Kipling being the most highly regarded of recent efforts — justly, in my opinion. For a much slighter... Read More
The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In, by Hugh Kennedy
God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570 to 1215, by David Levering Lewis
Here are two very different history books covering some of the same territory: the early conquests of Islam. Hugh Kennedy's book is the more comprehensive and scholarly, with detailed accounts of all the Arab advances into Africa, Asia, and Europe up to the fall of the Umayyad dynasty in A.D. 750. David Levering Lewis writes... Read More
The Dragon and the Foreign Devils: China and the World, 1100 B.C. to the Present, by Harry G. Gelber
Ocean to the east, mountains to the west, steppe to the north, jungle to the south: no wonder the ancient Chinese felt themselves to be in the middle of everything. At the dawn of Chinese history proper, around 800 B.C., the land regions just outside the borders of the Chinese culture zone were known to... Read More
Osman's Dream, by Caroline Finkel
How much space does the Ottoman Empire occupy in the mind of an average well-educated Westerner of today? I called a representative specimen of such and asked him to free-associate on the phrase "Ottoman Empire." He: "Um, Manzikert … fall of Constantinople … Lepanto … gates of Vienna … sick man of Europe … Armenian... Read More
W.B. Yeats: A Life — Vol. II: The Arch-Poet, by R.F. Foster
The other day I had lunch with Maureen Murphy of Hofstra, who knows a very great deal indeed about William Butler Yeats. I mentioned to her the question posed by my colleague Jeffrey Hart, in his own review of this book (National Review, 2/23/04): Was Yeats the greatest poet of the twentieth century? I said... Read More
Homosexuality and Civilization, by Louis Crompton
We are, as everyone knows, living in the, or a, "gay moment." One of the consequences is that we have to put up with a great deal of homosexualist propaganda. (I favor the usage "homosexualist" for people who are activist about their sexual orientation, versus "homosexual" for people who are merely, and privately, homosexual. I... Read More
A Short History of the World, by Geoffrey Blainey
One of the attractions of historical writing is that it is, to use a term of art from software development, "scalable." It is possible to write a very good history book covering the events of less than a week, as John Lukacs did with Five Days in London, May 1940. A single year can offer... Read More
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John Derbyshire
About John Derbyshire

John Derbyshire writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him. He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. His most recent book, published by VDARE.com com is FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle).His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com.