Item description for The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Politically Incorrect Guides) by Anthony Esolen...
Overview Discusses Western civilization with a focus on the bold, radical philosophies of the recorded great thinkers of their time, claiming that many of these philosophies would be considered politically incorrect today.
Publishers Description Everything you should know--but PC professors won't teach--about our Western heritage Western civilization is the envy of the globe. It has given to the world universally accepted understandings of human rights (rooted in Judeo-Christian principles), created standards for art, music, and literature that have never been equaled, and originated political and social systems that have spread all across the planet. Unfortunately, the fog of political correctness now obscures these and other truths about Western civilization. Leftists and Islamic jihadists find common cause in assailing Western "colonialism," "imperialism," and "racism" as its defining characteristics. Guilt-ridden Western leaders and public figures speak of their cultural patrimony in disparaging terms they would never dare to use about a non-Western culture. And in the academy, "multicultural"-minded professors flatter students into believing they have nothing really to learn from Sophocles or Shakespeare. But now, Professor Anthony Esolen--one of the team-teachers of Providence College's esteemed Development of Western Civilization Core Curriculum--has risen to the West's defense. The Politically Incorrect Guide(TM) to Western Civilization takes on the prevailing liberal assumptions that make Western civilization the universal whipping boy for today's global problems, and introduces you to the significant events, individuals, nations, ideas, and artistic achievements that make Western civilization the greatest the world has ever known. Today--with the West imperiled as never before by the global jihad and threats from China and elsewhere--defending the West has become an urgent imperative: if we don't value what we have and what we have inherited, we will surely lose it. The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to Western Civilization is an essential sourcebook for that defense.
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Studio: Regnery Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.96" Width: 7.25" Height: 0.77" Weight: 1.2 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2008
Publisher PERSEUS DISTRIBUTION INC #1220
Series Politically Incorrect Guide
ISBN 1596980591 ISBN13 9781596980594
Availability 0 units.
More About Anthony Esolen
Anthony Esolen, Professor of English at Providence College, is the editor and translator of the Modern Library edition of Dante s Divine Comedy. He has published scholarly articles on Spenser, Shakespeare, Dante, and Tasso in various journals and is a senior editor and frequent contributor to Touchstone Magazine."
Reviews - What do customers think about The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Politically Incorrect Guides)?
Contents offensive to liberals! Read it for that reason alone. Nov 1, 2008
Funny and right on target, this book clearly makes liberals bristle with outrage, as witness some of the reviews. But even without the thrill of going against the liberal hegemony, this book is fun to read and has lots of info no history teacher today will let you know about.
It is painful to recall that once, some fifty or more years ago, universities were crammed with students taking classes in history and English. These departments, now firmly in control of the left, have shrunk to the size of peas. Not many people want to take classes to be hectored by shrill feminists or glowering Marxists who insist that everything in history is about 21st century politics.
What a relief, then, to turn to this book and read some actual truth. "From 962...to 1321...Europe enjoyed one of the most magnificent flourishings of culture the world has seen. In some ways it was the most magnificent" (p 131). Yes, I know. How dare he say it, even if it is the truth?
Best of all is the chapter called Israel: How God Changed the World. This is nothing less than a brilliant discussion of the consequences that followed the Jewish belief in monotheism. I can't recall anything I have read lately that is as good.
This was a God that was above nature "not a nature god" (p 70). It would be the end, eventually, of having a god associated with the monarch. It would bring dignity and human rights to every person on earth. It would yield science. Because God claimed he inented thw world and gave it a destiny, it put all all on a journey toward that destiny.
"It is deeply ironic that they (Jews) should have played so important a role in the development of Western civilization--indeed a central role. They had little to recommend them. They did not invent democracy...We remember them for one thing alone, but it is the most important thing: the revelation of the one, holy, all knowing, almighty, all loving God (p 69).
All the vaunted glories of Rome and Greece, of China and Egypt, were as nothing compared to the gift a scruffy group of herdsmen gave to us.
A Sound Survey Sep 2, 2008
Anthony Esolen examines a wide variety of sources as he builds an alternative view of western civilization. Esolen challenges the currently popular "politically correct" view which holds that the West was built upon a godless and moralless foundation. Certainly, there were those who spoke of good and sound morals, but their words are to be taken with a heavy (lethal) dose of bitter cynicism. It is politically correct to say that there are no absolutes, nothing is purely good or evil. Why, the very notion of an objective (moral) truth is patently absurd, say the politically correct. If anyone needs moral guidelines the state will provide them and enforce them. Of course, the state is dominated by those who adhere to a morally bankrupt ideology.
Those who project this politically correct approach are often very well read. They come heavily armed with quotes and anecdotes. They are magicians who can make your moral doubts disappear. Esolen examines many of the sources of this politically correct mindset. Such thinkers easily overwhelm the unarmed; that is, the students in their classes and the readers of their books. And the masses fall in line.
Esolen carefully examines the Greek and Roman roots of the West. He stresses how the Judeo-Christian tradition has given the West a vital moral focus, which is suppressed and denigrated by the politically correct today.
Even if you don't agree with Esolen's model, the book is a sound guide to the knowledge on which western civilization is based. I found particularly useful his study of Plato, the politics of the Roman Republic, ancient Israel, the Middle Ages, and the Enlightenment. Many of the sources he quotes reflect his apparent background in literature, primarily English and French.
The book is sprinkled with pithy descriptions of people and events. For example, Margaret Sanger was a "hater of blacks, hater of Catholics, admirer of Hitler." Also, Esolen points out that our presidential electoral process undermines potentially dangerous fringe movements because "if you can't win a state, you can't win anything."
Esolen challenges one of the top beliefs of the politically correct: the past was backwards, full of ignorance. Therefore, the present is all that matters, and the future will be bright precisely because it rejects the past. This book clearly demonstrates the wisdom of the past and the great ideas on which the West was built.
Simply awful Aug 29, 2008
This isn't a book of history. It is an excuse for the author to extol religion and conservative ideology and criticize atheism, homosexuality, and other supposed evils. I couldn't even finish the book--it was that bad. Atheists are "slovenly," to take one example of the author's poor writing. Skip this book and read a real history book.
No One Is Good... Aug 20, 2008
What this book came down to was everything before Jesus was evil and everything now is evil because of our removal of religious piety. He implies that Christianity and the State should be one in the same(Despite what he says the Israel chapter) and that we've fallen from the Number 1 spot in the world is because of heathen liberals. Enlightenment didn't bring about Socialism and Fascism(Which, in and of themselves aren't evil) but the Industrial Revolution brought Socialism and the unhappiness of Democracy AND Communism brought about Fascism. This professor of literture should stick to shakespeare, and leave history to the historians.
Tightly argued, lively, and erudite Jul 29, 2008
In the latest offering from Regnery's PIG series, Dr. Anthony Esolen takes aim at politically correct interpretations of Western Civilization. Esolen believes that those who peddle this way of thinking seek to "dissolve the foundation on which American and European culture had been built." This book seeks 1) to expose the flaws in these arguments and 2) to defend the noble Western tradition against this way of thinking.
Esolen's method involves the steady chronicling of the successes and failures of Western Civilization, the current relevance of which he explains at every opportunity. Moving from Greece to Rome to Israel and through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and finally to the 19th and 20th centuries, Esolen presents us with summaries, quotations, and analyses that show how politically correct interpretations of history ultimately belittle religion, family, and tradition, and in so doing, degrade our current place in civilization.
Several themes emerge along the way. One is the endurance and primacy of Natural Law, despite its changing enemies. Another is the way in which each succeeding culture views man's perfectibility: we go from the belief that moral training can perfect man, to God's grace doing so, to education and the Arts, to nature, to the State and politics--no coincidence is it that the further removed from God and virtue we get, the bloodier the period is.
Esolen presents us with many heroes, including some well-known names like Sophicles, Dante, Aquinas, Shakespeare, and Burke as well as some not-so-well-known names like Clement of Alexandria, Girolamo Savonarola, Romano Guardini, and Leo XIII.
We learn why Washington was called the Cincinatus and not the Pericles of his time, why Romans held little esteem for Homer's Odysseus, and why guilds and craftsman were the driving forces behind the High Middle Ages.
We are treated to many wonderful historical anecdotes, two of which - one involving St. Thomas Aquinas and the other Dr. Samuel Johnson - promise to warm the hearts of all truth-loving readers out there.
At one point in this romp through thousands of years of history, theology, philosophy, literature, architecture, music and art, Esolen praises Dr. Samuel Johnson: "How could one man possess so much learning, discoursing so easily about Aeschylus and Milton, without sounding like a dusty academic?" After reading this book, we are tempted to ask the same question.