Tag Archives: book review

Book Review: He’s Not Yet Dead

After The Hangover

R. Emmet Tyrell Jr. is a storyteller. And boy does he have stories to tell.

He spent many of his formative years, philosophically, engaging with the great minds of the early conservative movement in America. And his remembrances of personal interactions with the likes of William Buckley and Henry Kissinger are rambling and yet deep.

That is the only thing wrong with Tyrell’s book, After The Hangover, and yet it is not such a wrong that I could not enjoy the experience of the trip.

After The Hangover is Tyrell’s prescription for conservative resurgences post W. He begins with reassurances that the conservative movement is not yet dead, despite what talking heads and the MSM love to say. His argument? They’ve been saying that a long time and conservatives keep coming back. In fact, in response to those claims of a conservatives having faced and failed their Waterloo in the election of President Obama, Tyrell pushes back and shows that it may be the Liberals who ought to be looking to their life support systems.

Tyrell is bitter that Liberals have taken, and been allowed to retain, the name Liberal, as the crops of Liberals going back to the 1970’s are not liberal at all in the true sense, but are a conglomeration of ideology- and issue-driven socialists. The environmentalists use green to argue for socialism, tax-and-spend Democrats use decrepit command economy theories, liberation theology African Americans find their history and their futures in Marxist ideas of heaven on earth.

And yet, he argues that it is the conservative, not the liberal, who is the happier person.

Conservatism is a temperament to delight in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This includes those parts of the pursuit that men such as John Locke discussed, the acquisition and exchange of property. Modern conservatism is a temperment, Tyrell claims, not an ideology or an anxiety. It is a love of liberty, not a misdemeanor.

The Liberal, on the other hand, holds this vast exception, among others. Temperamentally, the Liberal believes they are entitled to attain happiness, not just pursue it. And in their inability to attain that which they’ll go all wrong pursuing, they end up bitter and angry.

The reason Liberalism is still such a force is the Kultersmog. The collective smoke and debris of misinformation, inflated opinion, and the supporting armies of science and culture that work together to marginalize conservatives and obfuscate their ideas and words. If you can control the transmission of ideas and words you can control a populace. The counter to that, of course, is the internet. There is no way to control the transmission of ideas so completely as the old mainstream media did and wish they still did today.

Tyrell claims the structures of strong conservative though coupled with the increased grass-roots involvement and the uncontrolled nature of communication and media today spell the continued success of the conservative movement, and indeed it’s continued dominance and shaping of the discourse of America.

The White Horse King

The White Horse King
The White Horse King

Growing up my dad read to us many books, and one that I recall most fondly was Charles Dicken’s “A Child’s History Of England“. The stories of kings and great men, battles won and lost, all the stories that make up the history of the great land of England help my siblings and I in rapt attention around the dinner table.

And now comes a new book focused specifically on Alfred, the only king in the history of England to earn the appellation “the Great” attached to his name.

Alfred was responsible for renewing and rebuilding the fight against the ravaging Danish vikings, building an effective defensive and offensive military force, and rekindling the flames of education and knowledge in 9th century Wessex. He also built the strength and respect of the kingdom of Wessex and of the entirety of Anglo-Saxon England until his sons were able to consolidate the entirety of England under a single throne.

In his story of this the only Great King of English history, Benjamin Merkle presents an accessible, readable, and enjoyable retelling of Alfred the Great, the White Horse King.

While he appears to be gushing, in fan boy fashion, over this hero of ancient time, Benjamin present sufficient evidence to show this is not simply a figment of his own fancy. When there is disagreement regarding the life of Alfred, Benjamin references the different viewpoints and then gives his reasons for accepting one side or the other.

I came away from this book with an image of a truly great man, a man who, in humility and a cognizance of the great responsibilities of authority, led his nation well. With continual seeking of God’s will and of finding the better and the best way, Alfred truly deserves being named the Great.

Book Review: Love & Respect

Love & Respect
Love & Respect

Love & Respect, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, attempts to address the imbalance in communication between married men and women.

Starting with Paul’s admonition that men are to love their wives and women are to respect their husbands, Dr. Eggerichs addresses the differences between men and women and how, in our culture post-militant-feminism has built most communicated love around the women’s primary love language and methods.

I can attest to the accuracy of Dr. Eggerichs ideas in my own life and marriage. I appreciate and desire the love my wife shows me, but I’m most hurt when she, even without malice or intent, does not show me respect. And I’m most fulfilled as a husband when she tells me how she respects me for who I am, and what I attempt and accomplish. Her respect gives me energy and willingness to try all the harder.

In the live-action Peter Pan movie, when the children are furiously trying to raise the gate to escape the castle, Tiger Lily kisses John full on the lips and John, recognizing her respect for him rolls up his sleeves and raises the gate single-handedly. That’s how my wife’s recognition and respect affect me.

The other side of the coin is the love a husband is commanded to show his wife. The different languages of love and respect are neither easy nor natural for the husband and the wife, respectively.

Love & Respect is a good book, overall. The writing is as simple as the premise is profound. Dr. Eggerich uses a large number of anecdotes he’s collected from years speaking and teaching on the subject and counseling couples.

I was personally off-put by his frequent references to his seminars and their success in people’s lives. However, the stories of successes from the seminars are tailored to the specific point he’s making and so necessary, to an extent, to the illustration of his argument. This is a small quibble for an otherwise very worthwhile book I would heartily recommend to anyone married, regardless of the state of their marriage.

Almost Nearly Perfect

Rick and Bubba's Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage
Rick and Bubba's Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage

It made me laugh, my wife cried.

Rick and Bubba’s Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage is a gem of a book for all people who want a healthy and balanced marriage built to last.

Rick and Bubba, for those who, like me, don’t recognize their names, are a talk-show duo from Alabama. Bringing the wisdom of a pastor, the testosterone of two big guys, and the experience of marriage and fatherhood, they speak truth with humor and, um, humor.

Seriously. It’s been a while since I’ve laughed this hard, this many times, and in only one book.

And all their stories are true. From their own lives they illustrate the importance of communication in marriage. The importance of recognizing and appreciating the differences between the husband as a man and the wife as a woman. The importance of not falling prey to the stereotypes defined by society. The importance of laughing together and crying together. The importance of realizing that marriage must always be the second most important relationship in our life.

Huh?

As a married man, the most important relationship in my life is my relationship with my heavenly Father, God. Then comes my relationship with my wife. Then comes my relationship with my children. And finally, comes my relationship with others.

Any alteration in this structure presents imbalance, weakening and threatening the failure of all the relationships.

But Rick and Bubba made me laugh when they said it.