Category Archive for "History"

Umberto Eco—The Celebration of Folly

Humanism is a living intellectual tradition in the west; one that many of our greatest luminaries have abandoned in frustration. It is a natural project—the kind of thing that serious scholars tend to fall into once they realize that most…

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The Sixth Extinction: The Middle of the End

Our geological era, often called the Anthropocene in honor of its most influential characteristic, has been a remarkable period in Earth’s history. For her book, The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert travelled extensively to produce a stunning account of just how…

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Danubia: the Praise of Folly

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit central Europe a number of times in my life. But for my most recent adventure, I brought along a copy of Simon Winder’s Danubia, probably the finest companion one could have for such a journey….

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The Song of Achilles

Years ago, when I was very young, I remember sitting in a tree far out in the woods behind my home and reading The Illiad. For some three thousand years now, in a line that stretches back to the early…

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Capital for the Twenty-First Century

Capitalism and democracy have always had an uneasy history together, despite their seemingly complimentary natures. Democracy has always acted a bit like capitalism’s irritating little brother, and has picked countless fights over the years. Some of these it wins, but…

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Better off Without ‘Em: a Review

Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Independence by Chuck Thompson was something of a guilty pleasure that I picked up in a moment of pique from the iBookstore a little while ago. When I was very young,…

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The Curious Genius of HP Lovecraft

“Atmosphere, not action,” said Howard Phillips Lovecraft, “is the great desideratum of weird fiction. Indeed, all that a wonder story can ever be is a vivid picture of a certain type of human mood.” Today is Lovecraft’s birthday. I felt…

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Unbroken

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand has already had a great deal of ink spilled over it, and deservedly so. The masterful storytelling and elegant attention to detail mark this as a work of great skill and talent. It tells the story…

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