"What a novel my life has been!" Napoleon once said of himself. Born into a poor family, the callow young man was, by twenty-six, an army general. Seduced by an older woman, his marriage transformed him into a galvanizing military commander. The Pope crowned him as Emperor of the French when he was only thirty-five. Within a few years, he became the effective master of Europe, his power unparalleled in modern history. His downfall was no less dramatic.
The story of Napoleon has been written many times. In some versions, he is a military genius, in others a war-obsessed tyrant. Here, historian Adam Zamoyski cuts through the mythology and explains Napoleon against the background of the European Enlightenment, and what he was himself seeking to achieve. This most famous of men is also the most hidden of men, and Zamoyski dives deeper than any previous biographer to find him. Beautifully written, Napoleonbrilliantly sets the man in his European context.
featuring Stephen Kotkin via The Claremont Review of Books
Writing a biography of Joseph Stalin is a monumental task, which he made as difficult as possible.
The Ambiguity of Stalin
By Jeremy Friedman on Apr 25, 2019 10:00 pm
Somehow Joseph Stalin cannot be reduced merely to just another Russian autocrat or just another communist dictator. Not for him the “banality of evil.”… Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928 By Stephen Kotkin (Penguin Press, 2014) Stalin: New Biography of a Dictator By Oleg Khlevniuk, translated by Nora Seligman Favorov (Yale University Press, 2015) The ...
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Conservative internationalism: Armed diplomacy under Jefferson, Polk, Truman, and Reagan with Henry Nau
Wilson Shirley and Henry R. Nau | "Bradley Lecture Series"
On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, 2 years after Reagan famously said, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall’
Mark J. Perry | AEIdeas
Andrew Roberts has written a masterful biography of the British statesman.
Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny
interview with Andrew Roberts via Uncommon Knowledge
Andrew Roberts examines the extraordinary life of Winston Churchill in Roberts’s new book, Churchill: Walking with Destiny.
Andrew Roberts On The John Batchelor Show (Part 1 of 8)
with Andrew Roberts via Hoover Daily ReportHoover Institution fellow Andrew Roberts discusses his latest book Churchill: Walking with Destiny.
Part 2 - https://audioboom.com/posts/7163327-churchill-walking-with-destiny-2-of-8-kindle-ebook-by-andrew-roberts
Part 3 - https://audioboom.com/posts/7163326-churchill-walking-with-destiny-3-of-8-kindle-ebook-by-andrew-roberts
Part 4 - https://audioboom.com/posts/7163324-churchill-walking-with-destiny-4-of-8-kindle-ebook-by-andrew-roberts
Part 5 - https://audioboom.com/posts/7163322-churchill-walking-with-destiny-5-of-8-kindle-ebook-by-andrew-roberts
Part 6 - https://audioboom.com/posts/7163321-churchill-walking-with-destiny-6-of-8-kindle-ebook-by-andrew-roberts
Part 7 - https://audioboom.com/posts/7163320-churchill-walking-with-destiny-7-of-8-kindle-ebook-by-andrew-roberts
Part 8 - https://audioboom.com/posts/7163319-churchill-walking-with-destiny-8-of-8-kindle-ebook-by-andrew-roberts
An Artist’s Churchill
Andrew Roberts delivers a masterly, standard-setting biography of the British leader.
Kevin Mckenna On Characters, Plot, And Themes Of In The First Circle
by Russell Roberts via EconTalk
Russian Literature Professor Kevin McKenna of the University of Vermont talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the characters, plot, and themes of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's masterpiece, In the First Circle. This is the second episode of the EconTalk book club discussing the book. The first episode--a discussion of Solzhenitsyn's life and times--is available on EconTalk at Kevin McKenna on Solzhenitsyn, the Soviet Union, and In the First Circle.
Stephen Kotkin On Solzhenitsyn
by Russell Roberts featuring Stephen Kotkin via EconTalk
This week, historian and author Stephen Kotkin of Princeton University and Stanford University's Hoover Institution talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the historical significance of the life and work of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Solzhenitsyn's birth.
Judicial Fortitude: The Last Chance to Rein in the Administrative State
Peter J. Wallison | Encounter Books
In his newest book, Peter Wallison argues that the administrative agencies of the executive branch are gradually taking over the legislative role of Congress. The courts bear the major responsibility for this because they have failed to carry out their primary constitutional responsibility: to assure that the elected branches of the government — Congress and the president (including the executive branch that the president controls) — remain independent and separate from one another. Since 1937, the judiciary has abandoned this role. It has allowed administrative agencies great latitude in interpreting their statutory authorities. As a result, unnecessary regulation has imposed major costs on the US economy, the separation of powers has been compromised, and erosion of the role of a representative Congress creates a significant threat that Americans will question the legitimacy of the US government’s decisions in the future.
A Chevron Revolution In The Supreme Court?
by David Davenport via Defining Ideas
A new book proposes a rollback of the administrative state.
by Michael J. Boskin via PolicyEd
There are often economic, health, safety, environmental, and other benefits that justify regulation. But it is important to keep in mind that many of them create a drag on the economy by imposing costs or stifling innovation and competition. Once implemented, we need to track their impact and periodically reevaluate them. An ongoing goal should be to achieve the original goals at a lower cost.
Rein in the administrative state and preserve democracy
Peter J. Wallison | RealClearPolitics
The dangers of giving authority to administrative agencies
Peter J. Wallison | AEIdeas
Not all administrations are willing to abandon due process and legal restrictions to achieve certain policy ends. But we risk this kind of lawlessness in the future unless administrative power is limited by law.
The Best Books For Making Sense Of The Financial Crash, 10 Years Later
mentioning Niall Ferguson via The Strategist (New York Magazine)
The financial crisis of 2008 was the most important single economic event since the 1930s — and it was also the subject of last week’s print issue of our magazine, which chronicles the ascent of the New New Left and Donald Trump, as well as the demise of the middle class, pop culture, and the American Dream.
The 2018 War on the Rocks Holiday Reading List by WOTR Staff
2018 In Books: A Review of 80 Books for Leaders
From The Company Leader: "A move from coast-to-coast and a now long daily commute have combined to help in my 2018 book consumption. Audible has certainly been a game-changer too, making drives and PT hours double as “reading” time."
Clausewitz’s Library: Strategy, Politics, and Poetry
By Vanya Eftimova Bellinger, Strategy Bridge: “Carl von Clausewitz is considered by many the west’s preeminent military theorist, and within professional military education his seminal treatise On War is extensively cited and studied. With so much attention, it might be supposed that we know all there is to know about his life and work. In reality, however, Clausewitz’s intellectual path, especially in his later years, remains somewhat of a mystery.”
War Stories As They Should Be Told
By Steve Leonard, Modern War Institute: “With The Fighters, Chivers returns to classic form, bringing to life a series of personal stories of war, drawn together across time and space with a common thread: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Victor Davis Hanson: The Secret Strength Of The West
interview with Victor Davis Hanson via Our American Network
Hoover Institution fellow Victor Davis Hanson discusses Carnage and Culture and the strength of the US.
Learning War: The Evolution of Fighting Doctrine in the U.S. Navy, 1898-1945
By Stephen Stein, Strategy Bridge: "In these years, the Navy changed from a traditional institution of the sailing era, relying on apprenticeship and on-the-job training at sea, to a modern learning organization that valued technology, professional education, and shore-based schools."
On Islam Is on Target
One of the interesting aspects of Fr. James Schall’s refreshing collection of essays, On Islam, is that it provides a chronological record. The first essay appeared in 2003, the last in 2018. This allows the reader to see how our understanding of Islam has changed over those years. Unfortunately, it hasn’t changed much at all. […]
Pandora’s Box: A History of the First World War
By Richard Fulton, Strategy Bridge: “The key descriptor for the last two years of the war was exhaustion: physical, emotional, economic, spiritual exhaustion.”
The Complete China Maritime Militia Bookshelf
From Andrew S. Erickson: “Rarely is a topic so little recognized and so little understood, yet so important and so amenable to research using Chinese-language open sources…”
Five Books: Norman Naimark
featuring Norman M. Naimark via Five Books
Norman Naimark is an American historian and author who specializes in modern Eastern European history, genocide and ethnic cleansing. He is a professor in the history department at Stanford University, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Naimark has been awarded the Officers Cross of the Order of Merit by Germany.
How To Crack The Electoral Code
quoting Victor Davis Hanson via SF Gate
Theodore White invented a genre with his groundbreaking book "The Making of the President, 1960," and news junkies ever since have eagerly awaited postmortems from inside the operations of the various Republican and Democrat presidential campaigns. There have been 14 presidential elections since Kennedy-Nixon, and each has generated its own raft of books.
DR. LEWIS GADDIS, PAUL KENNEDY & CHARLES HILL: YALE'S GRAND STRATEGY SYMPOSIUM
The Roots of Modern Military Education
By Lorenzo Ruiz, Strategy Bridge: “Prussia stands alone among the great military nations of Europe, and this honorable distinction is in a great measure the result of the diffused system of education throughout the country, and of the plan adopted by Stein and Scharnhorst, to make the officers the leaders of the army both in education and in military science.”
OSSUARY OF BRASIDAS, LEADER OF SPARTA
In the Footsteps of Brasidas
Life lessons from reading Thucydides and hiking at night
Lesley Blanch, The Sabres Of Paradise: Conquest And Vengeance In The Caucasus (1960)
by Ralph Peters via Classics of Military History
For those who only know the Caucasus from recent conflicts—in Chechnya, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabagh and elsewhere—this book offers a vital historical perspective. Although Orthodox Russia battled Islamic powers on and off for centuries, Russia’s longest war, waged against hardline Islamists, lasted a full generation in the nineteenth century.
John Masters, Bugles And A Tiger (1956) And The Road Past Mandalay (1961)
by Ralph Peters via Classics of Military History
These two autobiographical volumes from a former (British) Indian Army officer begin by capturing a lost world, that of the Raj in the years before World War II, in the grand imperial twilight (punishing Afghan tribes, downing gin, and shooting tigers), then move into the desperate war years that doomed the British Empire. Masters’ account of fighting in Burma is an even-rawer version of George MacDonald Fraser’s superb memoir, Quartered Safe Out Here.
Steven Runciman, A History Of The Crusades (Three Volumes, 1951-54)
by Ralph Peters via Classics of Military History
The Crusades are often invoked, but rarely understood. Runciman’s modern classic remains the benchmark for its objectivity, clarity and literary merit. Of immediate value for military officers and civilian analysts, this work explodes pernicious current myths, while reporting human valor and folly, treachery and brilliance with enthralling narrative style.
Future Tense: The Lessons of Culture in an Age of Upheaval by Roger Kimball.
We are living in an age of unprecedented upheaval. The future of Western culture is uncertain. America’s economic and political vitality are more fragile than ever. The preservation of tradition is far from guaranteed.
Many have observed that we are living through a world historical moment of which Hegel spoke: a time when many of the traditional assumptions about the shape and future of culture are suddenly in play. As The New Criterion embarks on its fourth decade of publication, the magazine commemorates its commitment to the civilizing values of informed criticism with the publication of Future Tense: The Lessons of Culture in an Age of Upheaval.
Compiling the writings of some of the greatest essayists of our time, Future Tense examines this pivotal period through a variety of lenses. Beginning with a meditation on memorials after the 9/11 attacks (Michael J. Lewis), the essays address patriotism in relation to Pericles (Victor Davis Hanson), twenty-first century American pride and leadership (Andrew Roberts), the future of religion in America (David Bentley Hart), and the unwinding of the welfare state (Kevin D. Williamson). Continuing this arc, pieces examine self-knowledge and modern technology (Anthony Daniels), the cultural capital of museums (James Panero), and the difficulties of making law in the modern world (Andrew C. McCarthy). In its penultimate essay, the book explores the possibility of a forthcoming political revolution (James Piereson), then closes with a reflection of culture’s role in the economy of life and the fragility of civilization (Roger Kimball).
Taken together, these prominent writers demonstrate an acute understanding of the value of Western thought as well as the challenges it faces. Future Tense is an engaging discourse on the prospects of society and an important collection for anyone concerned with the longevity of traditional culture.