This is a seven page summary review of one of the greatest books in modern political, economic, and cultural literature. The review concludes with links to other published literary commentary on the book being reviewed, and to superb videos where George Will is interviewed about his book, in this way augmenting the Kindle experience.
The Conservative Sensibility is a masterwork, a capstone work for the author, for his time, for the Republic, and for We the People who have lost our Republic.
7 Stars – Handbook for an American Renaissance – Life Transformative
Robert David Steele
This book is a masterwork, a capstone work for the author, for his time, for the Republic, and for We the People who have lost our Republic. Of the over 2,500 books I have reviewed, 10% of which have received a 6 star rating, this book is easily in the top 25 and perhaps the top 10. The last book I remember that impressed me this much was Philip Allot’s The Health of Nations: Society and Law beyond the State (Cambridge, 2002) but this book is closer to home, focused on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the collapse of the US federal government with a Presidency run amok, a Congress in abdication, and a judiciary all too passive as the Constitution is shredded.
This glorious piece of work, clearly a handcrafted deeply researched endeavor (not a collection of past columns) that draws on all forms of erudition from poetry and theater and fiction to history, philosophy, and science, is noteworthy for integrating deep and diverse citations from the varied leading individuals in the US executive, US legislature, and US judiciary.
The top four points made by this book, in my view, are these:
The assassination of the top four leaders of the political left in the five year period – President John Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968 – represented nothing less than a slow-motion coup on the political scene.
5 Stars – Utterly brilliant insights and data, but publisher should have invested in graphics to match
Parag Khanna is for me the single best observer and reporter on the substance of Asia which he takes great pains to point out is not just China (a third of Asia’s population) but includes particularly vast swaths of Russia, India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia including Indonesia and Australia, and Turkey.
“Margin of Victory: Five Battles that Changed the Face of Modern Warfare” by Douglas Macgregor. Naval Institute Press. 2016, Hardcover, 268 pages, $34.95.
“Margin of Victory” is about change, intelligently and soberly recognizing the need for that change regardless of preconceived notions and the consequences of failing to do so. Each of the conflicts analyzed by Macgregor, all seemingly unrelated at first glance, center on his repeated premise that victory will depend on lessons learned that will drive accepting change and implementing the hard decisions that must accompany transformation – notably in technology, people, strategy and organization. While history provides perspective that must be considered, holding on to outmoded concepts or failing to properly leverage what’s been learned will ultimately lead to decisive defeat.
6 Stars Presidential Transitions Matter and President Trump Blew It — With Follow-on Consequences
Although I am a huge fan of President Trump — I wrote the first article on how he could win (“Counter-Coup: How Trump Can Win,” CounterPunch, 14 August 2018) and went on to write the 30 piece Trump Revolution Series, I also believe in learning from the mistakes of others — this book has a great deal to offer the next President.
Early on in the book we learn that then candidate Trump did not want a presidential transition team and refused to assign campaign funds for it. When he was persuaded by Chris Christie that he needed one and Christie offered to raise funds separately, Trump assented, only to blow a fuse when he learned Christie had raised $9 million.
QUOTE (21): “Trump was apoplectic, actually yelling, You're stealing my money! You're stealing my fucking money! What the fuck is this?”
The book offers one capstone understanding and five insights that every presidential candidate should take deeply to heart: