- Paperback: 382 pages
- Publisher: Encounter Books; 60476th edition (May 22, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594031983
- ISBN-13: 978-1594031984
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 42 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #699,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Honor: A History Paperback – May 22, 2007
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From the Publisher
The first complete survey of this subject, tracing the evolution of honor as an ideal from the Greeks onward. The subject is in the cultural air at the present, as antagonists argue over whether the "honorable" course is to persevere in Iraq or withdraw and as the honor of U.S. forces is tarnished by the prison abuses scandal. The importance of honor is present in the earliest records of civilization. Today, while it may still be an essential concept in Islamic cultures, in the West, honor has been disparaged and dismissed as obsolete. In this lively and authoritative book, James Bowman traces the curious and fascinating history of this ideal, from the Middle Ages through the Enlightenment and to the killing fields of World War I and the despair of Vietnam. Bowman reminds us that the fate of honor and the fate of morality and even manners are deeply interrelated. His book is an indispensable document in a time of growing concern about the erosion of values.
About the Author
James Bowman has written for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The New Criterion and other publications. He was the American Editor of the Times Literary Supplement of London and is currently a resident scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Institute. Mr. Bowman has appeared on CSPAN.
Top customer reviews
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What an interesting expression! "...both encounter a sort of cultural phantom limb syndrome." (p. 35) I love it!
The tie in to the crusades is very interesting along with the historical recognition of when women first began being treated differently than they are still treated in the rest of the world.
When did the middle class begin to think of themselves as having a version of aristocratic honor? I would hate to think few read Scott anymore but I certainly remember thinking highly of Ivanhoe and Quentin Durward, the movie Rob Roy, the opera Lucia. Did I grow up with that sense of honor? And is this the reverse of other? (P. 97) The quote "the greatest dullness of the greatest number" is certainly one I will add to the collection I keep in RAM! While used with respect to the youth in between WWI and WWII it certainly seems useful now. Modern warfare, psychotherapy, and feminism collectively destroy honor.
This is one of the best books I have read in years.
It's not a history book so much as it is an effort to cast the light of Western historical honor on our society today. It's spot on.
One thing I think the author does miss, a bit, is the specific underpinning of the Jewish and Christian concepts of honor, that honor is bad if it accrues to the person. Honor is only honorable if it is for something greater than you.