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The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (The Politically Incorrect Guides) Paperback – May 27, 2008
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From the Inside Flap
Everything you should know--but PC professors won't teach--about our Western heritage
Western civilization is the envy of the globe. It has given to the world universally accepted understandings of human rights (rooted in Judeo-Christian principles), created standards for art, music, and literature that have never been equaled, and originated political and social systems that have spread all across the planet.
Unfortunately, the fog of political correctness now obscures these and other truths about Western civilization. Leftists and Islamic jihadists find common cause in assailing Western "colonialism," "imperialism," and "racism" as its defining characteristics. Guilt-ridden Western leaders and public figures speak of their cultural patrimony in disparaging terms they would never dare to use about a non-Western culture. And in the academy, "multicultural"-minded professors flatter students into believing they have nothing really to learn from Sophocles or Shakespeare.
But now, Professor Anthony Esolen--one of the team-teachers of Providence College's esteemed Development of Western Civilization Core Curriculum--has risen to the West's defense. The Politically Incorrect Guide(TM) to Western Civilization takes on the prevailing liberal assumptions that make Western civilization the universal whipping boy for today's global problems, and introduces you to the significant events, individuals, nations, ideas, and artistic achievements that make Western civilization the greatest the world has ever known.
Today--with the West imperiled as never before by the global jihad and threats from China and elsewhere--defending the West has become an urgent imperative: if we don't value what we have and what we have inherited, we will surely lose it. The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to Western Civilization is an essential sourcebook for that defense.
From the Back Cover
Christianity. Judaism. Dead white males. Old-fashioned morality. The traditional family. Tradition itself. Everything the liberals hate can be summed up in two words: Western civilization. Here is the ultimate Politically Incorrect Guide(tm): a sprightly, informative summary of the original source of all things politically incorrect from Moses, Caesar, and Christ, to Dante, Thomas More, and the Founding Fathers.
PC professors don't want you to know that:
* Patriarchy and civilization go hand-in-hand (just ask the ancient Romans)
* Modern science came from the Middle Ages (and a Biblical view of the universe)
* The Renaissance was the flowering of a specifically Christian and classical culture
* The "progressive ideas" of the nineteenth century led to the fascism, communism, and two world wars of the twentieth century
"`The glory that was Greece...the grandeur that was Rome'--not so long ago, these were the birthright of every educated American. But no more. If you had to name one thing that the vandals who've seized control on our college campuses don't want their students to learn, it would be Western civilization. More and more, we live with blinders on, ignorant of everything but current fads. In this sparkling book--the ultimate Politically Incorrect Guide(tm)--Anthony Esolen provides a fabulous introduction to the history and culture of the West. Esolen opens up a new world of people and ideas for those of us who live in the twenty-first century but don't want to be prisoners of the passing moment."
--Elizabeth Kantor, Ph.D., author of The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to English and American Literature
"An acclaimed translator of Dante, and a brilliant teacher of Western civilization, Professor Esolen is the perfect Virgil, guiding the student through the fugue-like influence of Athens, Jerusalem, and Rome."
--Russell Hittinger, William K. Warren Professor of Catholic Studies, University of Tulsa
"With a mind and heart well-formed by the very best that has made Western civilization both civil and great, Esolen vividly portrays our four-millennia drama in thought, politics, the family, art, poetry, architecture, war, peace, and the blessed intricacies of everyday life--his eye ever trained on the true, the good, and the beautiful, and rightly indignant of all that now threatens to reduce Western civilization to ashes and a new barbarism."
--Benjamin Wiker, Ph.D., author of 10 Books That Screwed Up the World
Top customer reviews
Those who project this politically correct approach are often very well read. They come heavily armed with quotes and anecdotes. They are magicians who can make your moral doubts disappear. Esolen examines many of the sources of this politically correct mindset. Such thinkers easily overwhelm the unarmed; that is, the students in their classes and the readers of their books. And the masses fall in line.
Esolen carefully examines the Greek and Roman roots of the West. He stresses how the Judeo-Christian tradition has given the West a vital moral focus, which is suppressed and denigrated by the politically correct today.
Even if you don't agree with Esolen's model, the book is a sound guide to the knowledge on which western civilization is based. I found particularly useful his study of Plato, the politics of the Roman Republic, ancient Israel, the Middle Ages, and the Enlightenment. Many of the sources he quotes reflect his apparent background in literature, primarily English and French.
The book is sprinkled with pithy descriptions of people and events. For example, Margaret Sanger was a "hater of blacks, hater of Catholics, admirer of Hitler." Also, Esolen points out that our presidential electoral process undermines potentially dangerous fringe movements because "if you can't win a state, you can't win anything."
Esolen challenges one of the top beliefs of the politically correct: the past was backwards, full of ignorance. Therefore, the present is all that matters, and the future will be bright precisely because it rejects the past. This book clearly demonstrates the wisdom of the past and the great ideas on which the West was built.