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Culture Counts (Brief Encounters) Hardcover – May 1, 2007
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From the Publisher
- Robert H. Bork
Boldly standing up to today's nihilisms and debasements of taste. CULTURE COUNTS offers a noble and compelling defense of high culture and the centrality of rich aesthetic experience for a full human life. The wisdom of Roger Scruton's judgments and the elegance of his prose are themselves powerful evidence for the truth of his thesis. Bravo.
- Leon R. Kass Harding Professor, The Committee on Social Thought, The University of Chicago; Hertog Fellow, The American Enterprise Institute
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Top Customer Reviews
The idea I found most intriguing is that no information is superfluous or unworthy of accumulation. Almost every fact we gather in life adds to our general understanding of the world and is, thus, invaluable. Most people don't seem to comprehend this and act as if they are above many things and many individuals. Such attitudes are counter-productive, and are what make an ignoramus an ignoramus. The intrinsic merits of contemplation are today largely forgotten, but not to Mr. Scruton. He reminds us Aristotle regarded contemplation as being the highest good. I also appreciated his short section on the importance of laughter and the way it saves us from despair.
My only criticism is that, at just over 100 pages, Culture Counts is really more of an extended essay than a complete book. Twenty dollars is too expensive a price in my opinion. Of course, the great thing about Amazon is that stuff always sells at a discount here. Furthermore, the z shops have been a godsend for my wallet and I am sure they have been for yours as well.
Scruton is equally provocative in suggesting that current education has things just backwards. To him, the purpose of education is not merely the private benefit to the student, but rather the benefit to the culture, of which a truly educated student will himself be a future guardian. (Pace, John Dewey!)
Finally, it should be pointed out that Scruton is as versed in contemporary art, architecture, music and literature as he is in the traditional, and thus he does not follow his serious analysis with a counsel of impotence and despair, seeing instead convincing "rays of hope" in such current practitioners as, for example, Jacob Collins, Quinlan Terry, David del Tredici, Ian McEwan, Michel Houellebecq, Alain Finkelkraut, Tom Stoppard, Alan Bennett, Paul Johnson, Gertrude Himmelfarb, and James Wood.
to Western culture's two current threats: radical Islam and,
from within, multiculturalism. To that end he offers up an
examination of just what culture is: its origins and importance
for a civilization.
In a compact (108pp) format of seven chapters, Scruton discusses
the development of cultures generally, using relevant topics from
philosophy and religion, anthropology, and general history. When
commenting on Western Culture in particular, he offers up specific
examples of both popular and high culture drawn from literature
and drama, painting, architecture, and music. In the chapter
"Culture Wars" aim is taken at several factions of the
The book is quite readable. However, for those only at the level of
interested layman (such as myself), there are some passages that wend
off into the esoteric. Fortunately, these excursions are few and
brief, and they did nothing to dissuade me from enjoying the book a
second time several weeks later.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In this wide-ranging book Roger Scruton defends the high culture of Western civilization and argues for why it matters. Read morePublished on July 22, 2013 by R. M. Peterson
Excellent book that discusses the value of culture, especially high culture, when it is so common these days to ridicule it.Published on October 5, 2011 by Rick Lilla
Lets face the truth: our universities now undermine western culture. Our universities and our chattering classes argue "that there is no objective procedure, no authority, no... Read morePublished on October 18, 2009 by Jeri
The book brings out the truth about our society. We as a nation tend to forget the white man and white woman in the early years and that they are eating the fruit of the labors of... Read morePublished on July 14, 2009 by Bonnie L. Abendschoen
Roger Scruton's book, I think, is slightly mistitled. The subtitle should probably read something like: "on the importance of education as a furtherance of cultural knowledge. Read morePublished on June 23, 2009 by Kevin Currie-Knight