Friday, February 18, 2011

Audio Book Review: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization by Anthony Esolen

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western CivilizationThe Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization by Anthony M. Esolen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Library. Blackstone Audio CD.

I've been listening to this off and on since early January. I enjoyed it immensely.

Esolen takes a strong view of Western Civilization as something to be preserved and cherished, despite its ups and downs throughout history. He holds out hope for the future based in his belief in God and Christ Jesus. A strong Catholic, there is a lot of Catholic thought included here, even defense of the institution of the Roman Catholic Church against revisionist historians who would overemphasize the church's failings. Not being a Roman Catholic, some of this was unimpressive.

I always liked history, more modern history, but have recently found an interest in the Ancients (probably because of Susan Wise Bauer's books). This is a nice general sweep through history, philosophy, and the movements of the day, whether today or in Ancient Rome. I found his discussion on the lack of darkness in the "Dark Ages" to be particularly interesting, even convincing.

Many of the points he made here are meshed, reworked, or replayed into Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child. I found listening to this whilst reading the other to be helpful, though, rather than redundant.

I find Esolen's style to be listen-to-able, but just. There is simply too much information to glean in the audio format, too many things I would have liked to be reading, noting, looking up, but have lost the specifics of before I could (I often listen while cooking or driving). The reader, Malcom Hillgartner, was excellent.

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  1. I own a couple of Politically Incorrect books, but not this one.

    Not sure that I really *need* it.

  2. I'm not sure I would've gotten all the way through this one if it hadn't been audio and had a deadline to return it.

    It was good, but dense. The kind of book that could take years ... could be an outline for years of reading and study.


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