Monday Reading

I have a lot of “irons in the fire” these days (I am not really sure why I choose these silly cliches to denote my business, but oh well) so I thought I would share a couple of links for your Monday reading pleasure.

– Interesting book roundtable on over at Redstate. Three of the editors discuss How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilizationby Thomas Woods. Although they in some ways share Wood’s persepctive on the lack of historical knowledge regarding the Catholic Church and its impact on Western History, they are dissappointed by the author’s lack of clear argument and his sloppy historiogrpahy. Here is Josh Trevino:

“How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization,” by Thomas Woods, PhD, is a book masquerading as a necessary corrective that reveals itself as an inadequate one; and a serious work of history marred by some deeply unserious historiography. The author’s stated intent is to counter much of the calumny which has befallen the institution of Catholicism in the modern era — specifically the calumny that it is and has always been an anti-modernist, anti-science, anti-humanist force — and in this, his approach makes the fatal errors of answering the critics on their own terms, and adopting Catholic historical prejudice to a degree that weakens his broader argument.

– Speaking of history, over at National Review Online Michael Ledeen reviews a book I was tempted by at the bookstore this weekend: The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, The First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805 by Richard Zacks. Ledeen thinks Zacks got the story right:

The Pirate Coast is the truly cinematic story of the American response to the trafficking of American and European slaves by the Bey, or Pasha, or Bashaw (the Arabs don’t pronounce the letter “P” so “Pasha” became “Bashaw”) of Tripoli in the early 19th century. Even those who fancy themselves well educated in such matters will, I fear, be astonished at how much has been Hollywoodized and even falsified in the popular press and the children’s texts. The real tale is at once more entertaining, more believable, and far more instructive than the mythology most of us have been fed. Just for starters, you will no doubt be surprised to learn that the first Marines – a mere eight of them – to see foreign combat did not actually make it to “the shores of Tripoli,” but fought their way across the Libyan desert to a less celebrated location, and then were forced to leave the matter in the hands of our diplomats.

More literary links, commentary, and reviews to follow as I get up to speed.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).