Allan Bloom, Love and Friendship (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993). The fall of Eros and the ladder of love.
Jacques Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence: 1500 to the Present, 500 Years of Western Cultural Life (New York: Harper, 2000). “It takes only a look at the numbers to see that the 20th century is coming to an end. A wider and deeper scrutiny is needed to see that in the West the culture of the last 500 years is ending at the same time. Believing this to be true, I have thought it the right moment to review in sequence the great achievements and the sorry failures of our half millennium” (p. xiii).
Christopher Dawson, Dynamics of World History (Wilmington, Delaware: edited by John J. Mulloy with introduction by Dermot Quinn, ISI Books, first published 1958, 2002). Dawson deals with questions of meaning and continuity in history at the level of philosophy and theology and as such not only contributes to our understanding of different periods in history but to understanding history itself. Part one deals with the sociological foundations of history, the movement of world history, and urbanism and the organic nature of culture; part two covers Christianity and the meaning of history as well as the vision of the historian.
* William Byers, How Mathematicians Think: Using Ambiguity, Contradiction, and Paradox to Create Mathematics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007). “Mathematics is about truth: discovering the truth, knowing the truth, and communicating the truth to others” (p. 327). How odd that working out the truth requires ambiguity, contradictions, and paradoxes.
* Joseph Ratzinger, Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life (Washington, D.C.: second edition, translated by Michael Waldstein, translation edited by Aidan Nichols, O.P., new foreword by Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI and a preface by Peter Casarella,The Catholic University of America Press, 2004). Finality is an important notion in Lonergan’s thought. But where we are headed is difficult to conceive because we are still in the process of developing as a species.
Roy F. Baumeister, Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty (New York: Holt Paperbacks, 1999). A social science understanding of the causes of evil behavior, especially the differences between perpetrators and victims.
Angelo M. Codevilla, To Make and Keep Peace Among Ourselves and with All Nations (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2014). The lost of trust in America because politicians cannot stay of our wars nor win them, amid a range of other new age distortions.
* Franz Rosenzweig, The Star of Redemption (Madison, Wisconsin: translated by Barbara E. Galli, The University of Wisconsin Press, 2005, originally published in 1920). “Fusing philosophy and theology, the book assigns both Judaism and Christianity distinct but equally important roles in the spiritual structure of the world, and finds in both biblical religions approaches toward a comprehension of reality” (rear cover). Especially interesting for the role of spiritual life in the suicide of nations.
Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (New York: Basic Books, 2010). A reality gone missing: the horror of living under Nazi and Soviet regimes, where over twelve years Hitler and Stalin together murdered over fourteen million people.
Jonah Goldberg, The Tyranny of Clichés: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas (New York: Sentinel, 2012). From Napoleon to Obama, the ruse of promoting a non-ideological ideology.
* David Kupelian, The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom (Nashville, Tennessee: WND Books, 2005). “The plain truth is, within the space of our lifetimes, much of what Americans once almost universally abhorred has been packaged, perfumed, gift-wrapped, and sold to us as though it had great value. By skillfully playing on our deeply felt national values of fairness, generosity, and tolerance, these marketers have persuaded us to embrace as enlightened and noble that which all previous generations since America’s founding regarded as grossly self-destructive—in a word, evil” (pp. 11-12).
Jesse Lee Peterson, From Rage to Responsibility: Black Conservative Jesse Lee Peterson and America Today (St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House: 2000). A first person view of what happens to a community, a culture, when dependency and servitude are encourage and self-independence downplayed.
Robert Kagan, Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007). The mutual incomprehension of European and American views of each other.
Ronald H. Nash, Life’s Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999). An introduction to worldview thinking: six conceptual systems and important problems in philosophy.
* Kenneth Clark, Civilisation: A Personal View (New York: Harper & Row, 1969). A BBC production; classical culture at its best.
Erving Goffman, Interaction Ritual: Essays of Face-to-Face Behavior (New York: Anchor Books, 1967). Saving face, among other things.
Yehuda Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002). “The horror of the Holocaust is not that it deviated from human norms; the horror is that it didn’t” (p. 42).
* David Solway, The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity (Toronto: A Counterblast Book, 2007). Post 9/11: a voyage of conversion from anti-colonialist, anti-corporatist, anti-Zionist, and postmodernist positions to a realization that our central predicament is the onslaught of theologically inspired military groups that we refuse to recognize , “craving conciliation, sophistry, and equivocation.”
* James Burke, Connections (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1978). How progress is a multifaceted process: technological innovations as cumulative and emerging skills that challenge us today.