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Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child Hardcover – May 18, 2015
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—J. Budziszewski, University of Texas, author of On the Meaning of Sex
“Life Under Compulsion is for anyone who wants to understand how thoroughly our contemporary culture has weakened and warped our fundamental humanity. This is at once a deeply entertaining and a seriously impressive book. Dare to approach it with an open mind, and you will not put it down unchanged.” —CatholicCulture.org
“Esolen signals with this book his presence in the top rank of authors of cultural criticism, following in the footsteps of Richard Weaver, Walker Percy, Russell Kirk, John Senior, Christopher Lasch, and Roger Scruton.” —American Spectator
“Esolen’s skewering of contemporary culture with all of its political correctness and shallow moral gestures is devastating.” —Washington Times
“This book made me want to jump up (very high) and cheer, or run around (very far) and shout warnings. . . . A worthy successor to C. S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man.” —Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy, Boston College
“Nonstop wit, energetic writing, fresh insight, and abundant wisdom about how to shape a good life for your children, and maybe even yourself.” —Robert Royal, president of the Faith & Reason Institute
“This book is essential reading for parents, educators, and anyone who is concerned to rescue children from the tedious and vacuous thing childhood has become.” —Education Reporter
About the Author
- Publisher : Intercollegiate Studies Institute; 1st edition (May 18, 2015)
- Language: : English
- Hardcover : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1610170946
- ISBN-13 : 978-1610170949
- Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #775,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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- The writing is excellent. Esolen has a fluid command of the English language and uses many juicy, excellent analogies to hammer home his point. I enjoyed reading his words very much.
- The book is mistitled and this is my primary problem with it. One thinks it's a practical manual on how to raise children rich in authentic humanity-- only in reverse psychology Screwtape Letters style. It is not. The book can keep its main title but needs a new subtitle like "a diatribe on how works of Western literature are far more rich in virtue and humanity than today's culture". Or maybe "how studying The Great Books will make us realize how far our society has degraded." The book does not offer practical solutions other than what is obvious: homeschool your children, limit media and have a rich home library. But even that has to be inferred because each chapter is only a listing of what is WRONG with modern American culture.
- This book won't add anything to those who are already convinced of its premise... which is the exact audience to which Esolen seems to write. I.e., if you have read Dante, Homer, Shakespeare, etc., not only will you be able to fully appreciate all his references to these writers (which, I kid not, are at least once every two pages), but you will have been steeped in a culture of higher level thinking that makes it almost certain that you already value the values he's preaching on here.
Chapter discussions include but are not limited to: mass education (incl. Common Core), utilitarian overworking, lack of critical thinking, predominance of lust over love, "tolerance", mob mentality, and the disintegration of the family.
So, most intelligent people will enjoy reading this book but that's only if they are already intelligent and enjoy getting fired up about previously held convictions. At best, such people might learn new ways to nuance and articulate these convictions by reading this book.
For the masses, like another reviewer stated, the ones who need to read this book, won't be able to.
Bottom line: as one who is already convicted on the degradation of culture, I was looking (and misled by the title) for something practical to accompany the rhetoric. Instead, I was treated to a well-written sermon designed for the choir with lots and lots of external references to great literature. 3 stars.