The Book Club is Updated
One of the most popular features of the blog has been our regular book reviews, so we think readers will be excited to learn about a recent update to David's Book Club.
If you click on the "David's Book Club" link at the right, you will see that the list of book reviews is has gotten longer. We have gone through and added links to David Frum's book reviews from National Review Online and the early days of FrumForum. We still have a few more book reviews to find and link to, and some articles need to be cleaned up, but this is the most comprehensive listing we currently have.
The reviews cover a wide variety of books: classics as well as new releases. Here is an excerpt from a review of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine:
I’m not a reader who craves cool futuristic gadgets in his sci-fi. (I’m not a reader who craves sci-fi period.) And obviously the omission of these cool gadgets does not hurt the story – or anyway, the part of the story that matters. (Although it does lead to some absurdities at the end, when the Time Traveler fights off the Morlocks with old matches he found under airtight glass in the abandoned museum.)
What it suggests is something more surprising. Most of us tend to think of the 19th century as a time of incredibly rapid technological change. And yet the habit of assuming continued and accelerated change had clearly not caught on. If you or I were called on to imagine how human beings of the future will store and share information, we might or might not essay a guess – but we’d feel very strongly confident that they will not use books and ink.
But Wells is clearly much more impressed by the pace of the social changes of his time than the technical changes. He could envision a total transformation of humanity, but not of humanity’s tools. And I don’t think this is just a matter of artistic imperative, although surely that is at work. In 1895, it may have been more natural to think of the advent of industrialism as a one-time event, a shift from one phase of humanity’s existence to another, like the shift from the Classical to the Medieval, rather than as a permanent state of unceasing and accelerating change.
On the basis of this analysis, [Norquist] suggests that either group can belong to his coalition so long as they subordinate their concern for abortion to his concern for lower taxes and lighter regulation of business. He analyzes the gay rights issue the same way.
But what if gay voters decide that gay rights matters more to them than taxes? What if immigration divides economic libertarians from homeschoolers? What if new issues displace the old? Grover argues that no such things can possibly happen. There is no possible arrangement of coalitions other than the ones that exist now – because nobody has anyplace to go. The politics that Grover helped shape in the 1980s, he insists, are the politics that will last to 2050 – and beyond. Nothing will change. Nothing can change.By now it should be clear that Leave Us Alone does not describe American politics as they are, but as the author wishes they were. Grover is an important and intelligent man, and he has written an important and intelligent book. But it is a book that describes the politics of a past already faded into history.
Click here to browse the entire collection.